Balls, baselines and brollies! Yes the Summer of Tennis is well and truly upon us, and with the Olympic Games taking place just weeks after the climax of The Championships at Wimbledon, we’ve got an extended grass court season ahead of us. SQ spoke to Laura Robson and Heather Watson about their Olympic aspirations.
Because of their success at such tender ages on the Junior circuit, Laura Robson and Heather Watson are often held in the same regard as senior pros. Crowds huddle around the outside courts hoping to get a glimpse of the girls in action, desperate for a taste of that rare summer delicacy; a British victory.
In 2008, Robson won the Wimbledon girls title at just fourteen years of age. By comparison Watson was a relative veteran when she picked up the US Open Junior title at seventeen-years old, the following year.
It’s easy to forget that these two young professionals are in the infancy of their careers, Watson is still just 20 with Robson two years her junior at 18.
Both reached the second round of this year’s Aegon International in Eastbourne and have been granted wildcards for the Ladies Singles at Wimbledon. In the Doubles at Devonshire Park the pair were narrowly beaten by the World number ones, Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond.
With such impressive performances on the grass courts, and a guaranteed outing in the Ladies doubles at Wimbledon next week, the pair have played themselves into contention for a possible wildcard to the Olympics.
Andy Murray was announced this morning as the first member of the Team GB tennis contingent but the girls refuse to get caught up in the hype surrounding The Games.
“Obviously we’d love to play, that is the ideal situation,” said Robson. “But we have no idea about the wildcard situation until next week.”
Her partner, Watson, admitted the chance of playing at the Olympics is an incredible opportunity.
“It’s huge for us. We’d both love to be involved in the Olympics whether it’s singles, doubles or anything.” said the Guernsey girl, who picked up Bronze at the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2008.
“The reason why it is so big is because it’s in London and we’d absolutely love to be a part of it.”
At such a young age London could prove to be too early for Laura and Heather. Alternatively the 2016 Olympics in Rio could provide a better medal opportunity to the pair, who will still only be 22 and 24 years old respectively by the time the next Games rolls around.
“Definitely [Rio is an opportunity], but for now we’re just focusing on London.” said Watson.
Robson echoed her partners sentiments, whilst stressing the need to take things one tournament at a time, “I think for the moment we’re both focusing on Wimbledon first, and then we don’t even know if we’re playing at the 2012 Olympics. Rio is a long way off.”
The wildcards for the Olympics will be announced next week with British number one, Anne Keothavong, largely expected to be entered into the Women’s draw at the expense of Elena Baltacha, who was the top ranked Brit for almost three years, until last week.
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