Robson Upbeat Despite Madrid Heartache
Published May 09, 2013 11:59
MADRID, Spain - Tennis is a sport of fine margins, when the difference between success and failure is often a matter of inches. However, on some occasions it's even less than that. And for Laura Robson, her third round match against Ana Ivanovic was one such occasion.
Leading 5-4 in the final set and just two points from victory at 30-30, Ivanovic hit a forehand that looked for all the world to be sailing wide. It didn't, grazing the furthest extremity of the sideline for a clean winner.
Ivanovic escaped that game and 10 minutes or so later stuttered over the finishing line when Robson double faulted at match point down in the tie-break.
Yet, despite its heartbreaking conclusion, Robson's run in Madrid has given her renewed optimism heading into the business end of the clay court season.
"It is not the first time I've double faulted on match point and it probably won't be the last," Robson said, reflecting on the match's painful climax. "It happens. I knew if I just popped it in, she'd probably hit a winner. It sucks, and everybody does it at some point, but I'll just try to make sure I never do it again!
"I'll definitely take the positives out of the match and it's been a good week of tennis for me. My level has picked up a lot since last week so it's not all bad and I've got Rome to look forward to."
Prior to this week, Robson had won just two of her last nine matches on tour, yet there was an unfettered manner in much of her play in the Spanish capital, particularly her one-sided defeat of World No.4 Agnieszka Radwanska in the second round.
Victory over Radwanska was the first time a British player had defeated a member of the Top 5 in nearly 30 years and also a timely reminder of the talent that emerged first as a junior and then again, with the entire tennis world watching on, at last year's US Open. And coinciding with her upturn in fortunes was a change behind the scenes.
Robson parted company with her coach of nine months Zeljko Krajan earlier this week and will now, in all probability, be flying solo until at least the end of the clay court season. Not for the first time, the 19-year-old will use this opportunity to join up with Sven Groeneveld and the rest of the adidas development team.
"I am coachless now, but I'll be working with the adidas team for the moment, just as I have a few times in the past," she said. "They're going to be in Rome as well and they all know my game pretty well - Sven first saw me play when I was 11 or 12.
"They're really knowledgeable guys and I've enjoyed the last couple of days' of matches and practice with them."