February 18, 2013
What does Laura Robson need most right now?
That may sound strange, just when she has broken through at Grand Slam level to defeat legendary fighters such as Kim Clijsters and Li Na at the US Open, then followed up those giant-killings by reaching a top a women’s final for the first time.
But if we’ve learned anything from Andy Murray’s recent success, it’s that we should enjoy the gradual rise of a star without expecting too much too soon. Let’s enjoy the unpredictable nature of this wonderful tournament and then see what else comes our way.
Sometimes Wimbledon throws up truly charming, unexpected surprises. I’ve been lucky enough to have reported all Wimbledon’s unforeseen British triumphs in recent years for the Mail on Sunday.
I enjoyed Jamie Murray’s Mixed Doubles success even more for having got to know his super-lovable Murray grandparents, Roy and Shirley Erskine. Can anyone not support a Murray after they’ve met Roy and Shirley?
And a few months ago I witnessed Jonathan Marray’s Men’s Doubles triumph, which left me in awe of his Centre Court sportsmanship after he told the umpire he’d touched the net and forfeited a big, big point for the sake of fairness. Who says nice guys don’t win?
But the one adventure that sticks in my mind the most is Laura Robson’s Junior Wimbledon glory on Court Number One a few years ago. The Mail on Sunday “splashed” on their front page with “Brit Girl Wins Wimbledon” – and some thought the paper had gone over the top. But it was a simple, joyous fact. Not a demand of her future career.
Few will be thinking we did Laura a disservice now, because she has made it to the big time in her own time…and proved herself worthy of our early admiration.
Laura needed a few years to grow into an adult body. And considering the fact that several of her relatives grew closer to seven feet than six, that probably took some doing!
Now our very best lanky “lefty” has broken through on the women’s circuit, to the private delight of her unassuming parents, who shun the limelight so impressively.
So what should we be thinking, as we try to secure our seats for the next Wimbledon? Personally I think we should just enjoy the sense of anticipation and the unique possibilities that Wimbledon 2013 will offer us.
When was the last time we had a chance to savour the outlandish idea that a British man and woman might do well at Wimbledon simultaneously?
But let’s just enjoy the moment and not expect too much from it. Let’s enjoy the tennis calendar between now and Wimbledon, knowing that 2013 could be one of the very best years in the history of the tournament for our local heroes. “Could” is wiser than “will.” But there’s nothing wrong with dreaming!
Andy and Laura, Olympic silver medallists. Could they one day be dancing the dance of Wimbledon Singles Champions together at the post-Wimbledon party? It could happen one day…it really could!
For the first time, we recognise that possibility.
But let’s not push Laura too hard, too soon. Let’s allow her to climb slowly towards the summit and enjoy her steady progress. Haven’t we enjoyed Andy’s recent glory all the more because it was so many years in the making? Let’s support Laura, not expect of her. Patience really does reap rewards. Just ask Andy.