Laura Robson Saves Brittania

June 25, 2013 -- All hail Laura Robson, British teen tennis sensation. She is a Wimbledon heroine. She could cast out the dark shroud that has engulfed her proud nation since 1977, when compatriot Virginia Wade last hoisted the Venus Rosewater Platter.

"I'm STILL nervous," Laura panted to the BBC seconds after her match, her eyes as wide as saucers and all sparkly with life. "This was a big one for me after all those nerves."

Robson had upset Maria Kirilenko, the No. 10 seed, 63 64. The look of incredulity on Robson's face was a priceless bit of whimsey for photographers, as she strolled to the net and shook hands with the shaken Russian.  

Robson is the first Brit to defeat a top-ten WTA player at Wimbledon since 1998, wrote the WTA on Twitter. 

"Playing in front of the home crowd makes you nervous," she told the BBC. Again with that 'nervous' word. And she has only advanced to the second round, which, by the way, is the farthest she has ever gone at Wimbledon way back in 2011.

You know how it goes, though. Give the tennis-title-arrid land a sliver of hope and they get all bolloxed up in their thinking. Minutes, well not even that. Seconds after Robson won commentators, journalists and probably a large percentage of the audience jumped on the I-love-Laura bandwagon, which is a good thing because she is a lovable and talented young woman.

Always clever with its headlines, Briton's Mail wrote -- "Robson stops British rot after beating 10th seed Kirilenko to join Murray in round two." The Independent put it like this, "Robson joins Murray in round two to lift the gloom." The Telegraph launched into Roger Draper, outgoing head of the Lawn Tennis Association, writing, he "can thank Laura Robson for saving him from one more bucket of ordure ahead of his exit this September."

No minced words for the infamous British press.

But all this hoopla laced with innuendo could stifle the teen and create an edginess enough to wreck that lefty serve, those powerful ground strokes, and an uncanny court sense usually witnessed in more, there's no other way to say it, mature players. 

Laura has a list of top ten talent she's pushed aside, though. Over the year, she defeated Li Na at the U. S. Open, along with Kim Clijsters who was playing in her farewell Slam. Robson defeated 2011 Wimbledon Champion Petra Kvitova at The Australian Open in January, too. At The Olympics, she and Andy Murray paired up to score a Silver Medal in Mixed Doubles. Not a shabby resume for the teen. 

"Kirilenko wouldn't have expected to get a drubbing like this from anybody but someone like Serena," Virginia Wade said, who was, coincidentally, calling the match. How's that for an angle on your shoulder?

Robson loves the big stage, which could be a pot of gold on her horizon. Unless, of course, she loses her concentration, which she did in the second set today. 

Up 4-1, Kirilenko pulled out her perfectly suitable junk shots to throw off Robson's rhythm. Then, Robson's serve wobbled after a stellar 80% on first serves. But she took a few deep breaths.

"I could have gone up 5-1 in the second and I lost my focus a little bit when I started thinking about winning," Robson said as reported by the WTA. "So I just tried to get back to focusing point by point."

"She had a hiccup in the second set," former American tennis star Chanda Rubin said on ESPN Great Britain, "but pulled herself out of it, which shows a lot for this young player."

Next up for Robson is Qualifier Mariana Duque-Marino from Columbia. The two have never met. Marino is the only one with a Career Title -- one. Neither has banked above $1 million USD over their careers. And Marino is ranked No. 117 in the world while Robson's No. 38.

Robson will try to extend her stay on the lovely lawns and Marino will build on her confidence. She defeated Julia Goerges of Germany, in round one. The German is ranked No. 36 and has three WTA Career Titles. 

Sounds like Laura has her work cut out for her on Thursday. If she can keep the love of a nation tucked in the back of her mind, she might just pull off another win. She is a teenager after all. And according to an April interview with Tennisnow.com, she doesn't have a worry to her name.

"I'm not particularly worried about anything. I'm still a teenager, so I think … ask me in a couple of years and I'll have one." 





 


© Jane Voigt Tennis 2013