Exclusive: Laura Robson set for glittering 2013
Laura Robson is spearheading a resurgence in British women's tennis. After her heroics at the Olympics and US Open last year, 2013 is set to see the teenager hit new heights. Ahead of the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open, she spoke to Orange about Gangnam Style, playing with Andy Murray and the season ahead.
You were one of the first people to do your own Gangnam Style video. How did that come about?
I was playing at a tournament in Beijing and there wasn't a lot to do. So myself and another player, Genie Bouchard, decided to do our own video. It started out as a bit of fun but it took me about three nights to edit it and it's already been seen by 300,000-plus people which is a bit crazy. That was mainly because Maria Sharapova mentioned it in her press conference. We got a few good people involved and it was a lot of fun. But when we did the bits out in public, everyone just looked at us like we were utter weirdos.
You've had to grow up in the spotlight a bit. How tough has that been?
It's something I've just had to get used to and I guess I'm not used to any other way. But I've still managed to keep quite a private person.
Looking back, how good was 2012 for you?
The last six months of the year were so good. I started the year off injured and it wasn't looking good. I never imagined I'd get the results I ended up getting towards the end of the year. I had the Olympic final, my first clay-court semi-final and my first WTA Tour final. Then there were two weeks in America that went pretty well, including my run at the US Open.
What was the highlight - the Olympics?
Definitely. It was crazy. I've never experienced anything like it and am not sure I will again. It was all at Wimbledon, which is just a few minutes' walk from my house so it was pretty familiar. But the noise every time that Andy [Murray] and I played was incredible. I loved every minute of it and I'm proud of my silver medal. He's a great player and a funny guy to play with. At the time, there was obvious Olympic disappointment as we wanted the gold and we weren't far off but that's tennis.
How about the US Open - you beat two Grand Slam winners in Kim Clijsters and Li Na?
It was all a bit unbelievable really. I didn't feel any pressure as I wasn't expected to win and both matches were so close that I didn't have time to dwell on what I was about to achieve. But both of those were very big wins that give me a lot of confidence going into 2013. And the other big one was getting to my first WTA Tour final. Hopefully I'll get a chance to win one of those this season.
Have you had much time off since the season ended?
None really. I was working with a relatively new coach and fitness trainer so we get stuck in pretty quickly. It started initially mostly with fitness testing and, since then, it's been two fitness sessions and two tennis sessions virtually every day. But I've generally had an injury over the winter so to be able to get a block in of winter training like that should be great. This time last year I was on crutches so this is a big step forward a year on. Touch wood everything seems ok.
So how do you rate your chances at the Australian Open? Melbourne's slightly home from home for you isn't it?
Yeah, I was born there and my sister lives out there so I always get good support. I love playing in Melbourne and have tended to do well in the junior tournaments. It's hard to say right now how I'm going to play there but I'm feeling good.
What are the goals for next year?
I've not really set many. I know it's a boring answer but I just have to take each tournament one by one and climb my way up the rankings. It'd be great to get on another good run in a big tournament like I did last year.
You're quite the sports fan aren't you? What were your own sporting highlights away from your game?
Obviously Andy Murray winning the US Open was massive. But I loved all the other Olympic and Paralympic stuff, and I loved the way Europe came back to win the Ryder Cup. It was a great year for sport.
Growing up, did you have a sporting idol from tennis or any sport for that matter?
Mine was Steffi Graf. At my age, she was the top female tennis player and I thought she was brilliant.