sport

McEnroe backs Robson to excel

John McEnroe believes that Britain's young gun, Laura Robson, has what it takes to be a top-10 player.

The 18-year-old enjoyed a prolific 2012 in which she announced herself on the tennis scene in earnest with a terrific performance at the US Open in which she beat former world number ones Kim Clijsters and Li Na on her way to the fourth round.

A host of solid showings on the WTA Tour saw her finish the year ranked 53rd in the world.

"Personally," McEnroe is quoted as saying by the Telegraph, "I think she could do something big.

"She is got a lot of ability and clearly if she gets herself fully committed and in tip-top shape, I think she could easily be top ten," he added.

"Naturally I think she is good as anyone out there. She is going to have to be like a [Tomas] Berdych in the men's game. He is someone who is big and powerful, and who has got himself into the best shape of his life."

Robson jointly won the Young Sportswoman of the Year award at the 2012 Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Awards with fellow tennis player Heather Watson, who this year became the first British woman to win a WTA title since 1988.

However, despite this, McEnroe is less enthusiastic about Watson's prospects.

"She's a spirited young girl," he said, "but she's not very tall so that makes it tough. She should idolise David Ferrer - she's got to be a real hustler or battler. She is just going to have to do it the hard way.

"Heather is around 50 in the world which means she has already done well in a way, considering how difficult it will be for someone of her size."