• What the Deuce

Robson showing top ten potential

Jo Carter September 25, 2012

When Laura Robson burst into the British consciousness at the age of 14, winning the Wimbledon girls' title, she was instantly earmarked for stardom.

Roll on four years and after steady progress Robson has lived up to her potential and is finally enjoying the results her talent merits following a breakthrough summer.

After winning an Olympic silver medal with Andy Murray in the mixed doubles at London 2012, Robson went on to beat grand slam champions Li Na and Kim Clijsters en route to the last 16 at the US Open.

Having become British No. 1 for the first time last week, Robson has now set her sights on a place in the world's top 50 after becoming the first British woman to reach a WTA singles final in 22 years.

Currently sitting pretty at a career high 57, a place in the top 50 does not seem out of reach - perhaps the question is just how far can she go? With her Olympic mixed doubles partner Murray breaking his major duck, can Robson emulate his heroics?

In defeating the likes of Clijsters and Li in recent weeks, Robson has demonstrated she has the game and the ability to beat the top players. She has always been graced with power and dexterity, but consistency and movement have always been weak points.

However, a noted improvement in her agility on the court at Flushing Meadows, and the appointment of new coach Zeljko Krajan appears to be working wonders.

"You cannot do what she has done at 18 unless you have weapons"

She can hit the ball as hard as almost anyone in the women's game and has been blessed with a natural range of talents that no amount of training can garner. However, more crucially she has targeted her weaknesses and worked hard to improve on those areas.

While her serve remains fragile, Robson has made real inroads this summer and will be keen to end the season on a high with a strong run of results in Asia.

Krajan recently claimed that Robson "doesn't even know herself how good she is", which is high praise indeed. Australian Paul McNamee, coach of Hsieh Su-wei, who beat Robson in the Guangzhou final at the weekend, noticed real improvements in Robson, and has labelled the Brit a "top-20 player of the future".

"You cannot do what she has done at 18 unless you have weapons and we can all see those," he said. "But I also give great credit to her coach. Everyone needs the right person and I believe Laura has found him."

Krajan appears to have found a willing and able student in Robson. Having steered Dinara Safina to the world No. 1 spot back in 2009, can he turn the former Wimbledon junior champion into a future grand slam winner?

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Jo Carter Close
Jo Carter is an assistant editor of ESPN.co.uk