Robson struggling to recapture past glories on court

Jelena Ostapenko and Laura Robson are both Junior Wimbledon champions, but that is where the similarity ends at the moment. Three years after her junior triumph at the Championships, the unseeded Ostapenko won the French Open women’s title on Saturday in Paris, making the kind of dramatic transition into the senior ranks that Robson seemed certain to achieve. However, seven years after her junior title on the lawns of SW19, Robson was beaten 6-4,6-3 by America’s Julie Boserup in the Nottingham Open first round yesterday.

Robson came into the grass court period of the tennis season having enjoyed success on the ITF tour in Japan after opting to join Magnus Norman’s Good to Great Academy. The move came after the 23-year-old tried nine other coaches in the last six and half years.

A serious wrist injury in 2014 – the year Ostapenko won the Wimbledon Junior title – derailed Robson’s career which had seen her win Olympic silver alongside Andy Murray in the 2012 London Games and reach a career high world ranking of No27 the following year. Currently she is ranked 176 and will return to the Futures circuit after the grass court season which, if nothing else, brings back good memories for Robson who is hoping to receive a wild card into the Championships singles event.

After this latest defeat, her first WTA main draw match since last year’s US Open, she said: ”This is a step up in level to what I have been playing and it will take me time to adjust to the different pace of ball and tactics. As of yet, I haven’t done so well. I played three weeks of super consistent tennis for the first time in a long period, then took some time off with a shin problem and maybe that disrupted the way I was feeling and the confidence. We have had some tough conditions – including Surbiton – and I am just disappointed I couldn’t play better.

“I would love to get a Wimbledon wild card and just to play in qualifying or main draw would be a bonus for me because I live down the road and the Championships mean so much to every British player.”

Dan Evans was forced to withdraw from the men’s tournament at Nottingham with the calf injury he sustained against Dustin Brown in the quarter-finals at Surbiton. The World No55 is having treatment and using crutches to keep the weight off the injury and has not ruled out competing at Queen’s. Evans has his eyes firmly set on Wimbledon but knows he needs games under his belt on grass before the Championships start. Evans said: “I’m really disappointed to have to withdraw from the Aegon Open in Nottingham. The injury I picked up at Surbiton last week needs more rest before I can get back on court. This is my favourite time of the year, so I’m getting treatment and will do everything to be ready for Queen’s next week.

Fellow British player Liam Broady, a wild card, was a first round loser, going down 7-5,6-2 to Ukraine’s Illya Marcheko. Also out I Britain’s Jay Clarke, into the main draw as a wildcard, who has trained with the GB Davis Cup squad and he took India’s Yuki Bhambri to a first set tie break before losing 7-6,6-1.
Croatian qualifier Jana Fett produced the first upset at Nottingham, beating No.7 seed Mona Barthel, saving three match points on her way to a 6-3, 5-7, 7-5 first round win. Eighth seed Naomi Osaka lost to the qualifier Kristie Ahn, World No. 131, 6-1 6- 1 in just 48 minutes while World No. 126 Tsvetana Pironkova, a Wimbledon semi-finals in 2010, beat Tereza Martincova 6-2 6-2

QUOTE OF THE DAY; “ I bowled him twice;” not something you normally hear from Johanna Konta after she served tennis balls at ex-England cricket star Paul Collingwood who was the other side of the net on the Trent Bridge outfield marked court with a bat and set of stumps. Joss Rae also took part in the “match” and cricket challenge along with James Trott, another former England star.

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