Robson backs Raducanu to return stronger after injury setbacks

Junior Wimbledon winner and British Olympic silver medallist Laura Robson backs Emma Raducanu to return stronger after injury setbacks and praises ‘outrageous’ Andy Murray

  • Robson has given a word of advice to Raducanu as she recovers from injury 
  • The former tennis star lifted the lid on Murray’s preparation for tournaments 
  • WATCH: It’s All Coming Up – Mail Sport’s preview show for the weekend’s football

While it is two years since Emma Raducanu stunned the tennis world at Flushing Meadows, ten have passed since another British teenager looked set for great things.

In 2013 a 19 year-old Laura Robson went to the third round or better at three Grand Slams, including New York, taking down the likes of Venus Williams, Petra Kvitova and Caroline Garcia along the way.

That saw her enter the world’s top 30, before a succession of wrist and hip injuries snuffed out a rare talent that had seen her win the Wimbledon juniors aged just fourteen.

The experience gives her added perspective on the physical struggles of Raducanu and Andy Murray. She remains optimistic about the former and marvels at how the latter has kept going to the point where he only just missed out on a seeding at the forthcoming US Open.

Unlike Raducanu, Robson is in New York, where she will work on Sky Sports’ relaunched tennis coverage. As she is represented by the same management company she has some insight on the 2021 champion, who has been pictured training in China while visiting relatives.

Laura Robson retired from tennis at age 28 and will cover the US open for Sky Sports

Robson won Junior Wimbledon and a British Olympic silver medal during her playing career

The former tennis star has discussed all things Emma Raducanu and Andy Murray

‘I heard that she’s trying to come back for the Asian swing after US Open,’ says Robson. ‘ Hopefully, that works out but you almost don’t want to set a date on it because then inevitably there’s going to be a couple of setbacks along the way, as there always is with rehab.

‘I think just to get into a bit of a routine again would be probably quite nice for her. The progression from mini red and sponge balls does go quite quickly. So you know, I think she’s actually probably already hitting it pretty big.’

As a young woman Robson was unable to have the kind of surgery which saved Murray’s career, and she has been a fascinated – and reflective – observer of how he has managed to keep going. For her, ten years ago proved to be the peak.

‘My hip never healed, so I’m still conscious of it on a day to day basis. I don’t think you ever go a day without sort of checking in on your body. It’s a good day if you don’t feel it, but more often than not, you will feel it and it’s just something that you accept. I really struggled with it because it was so temperamental for me.

‘I overplayed after the (2013) US Open. I felt really rundown and I went to Asia and did the whole swing of tournaments there and was just totally shattered by the end of the year. So it wasn’t something that I was aware of at the time.

‘You think, ‘Oh, this is how I’m supposed to feel’. Maybe I could have been smarter about it, but you don’t know that it would have been any different. I think about it from time to time, but it’s so hard to know if you’re going to get it right. I think just genetically, I was screwed anyway.’

Robson advised Raducanu to not set a target date for her return from injury

She also praised Murray’s ‘outrageous amounts of preparation’ before playing a match

These hard learnings make her all the more impressed that Murray is still going at 36.

‘It’s unreal that he’s even putting himself in a position to be seeded and only just missed out at Wimbledon and the US Open. It’s easy to get disheartened, even 18 months ago, he was looking like he was struggling to walk between sessions and after long matches.

‘I’ll say from being around him at tournaments, no one gets to the site earlier in the day. He could be fourth match on and he’s there for breakfast preparing: physio-bed- warmup-physio-bed-warm up. He goes on court for a half an hour hit and then back on the on the physio bed.

‘It’s just outrageous the amount of preparation that goes into getting him 100% ready to go on court for a match. So just to go through all of that day in day out takes it out of you.’

After Wimbledon the single biggest question around the tournament is whether Carlos Alcaraz can defend his title from last year. Robson is not among those believing he is set for the kind of monopoly that some have predicted, once Novak Djokovic finally succumbs to the ageing process. Long term she expects Jannik Sinner and Holger Rune to challenge.

Robson admitted she can’t see Carlos Alcaraz dominating tennis due to his injury history

‘I find it hard to see anyone dominating in the same way, especially as Alcaraz seems to be a little bit more injury prone. He plays the type of tennis that takes a lot out of your body.

‘So it’s just whether he’s able to schedule everything correctly so that he can still peak for the slams and the tournaments that he wants to do well at. But I love his attitude. So often we see a bit of a dip in the Grand Slam winner in the first couple of tournaments back, but he will compete well enough to stay in the match even if he’s not playing his best tennis.

‘ I think the way things have gone we’ll see Alcaraz pushing Djokovic and vice versa. I think the crowd maybe might support him (Djokovic) more because Alcaraz has just won the last one. All of a sudden Novak’s may be a bit more of an underdog than he is usually.’

The British singles challenge will consist of a minimum of six players. Liam Broady and Lily Miyazaki were last night (Friday) still competing in the rain- delayed qualifying event.

The US Open returns exclusively to Sky Sports and NOW with access to all court feeds from 28 August.

The US Open returns exclusively to Sky Sports and NOW with access to all court feeds from 28 August.

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