sport

Robson happy with coaching set-up

Steffi Graf will have to wait as Laura Robson is hoping her latest coaching arrangement will be for the long term.

The 19-year-old has already been through a succession of coaches and split from Miles Maclagan at the end of last season after only four months.

During the off season Robson linked up with veteran American coach Nick Saviano and 31-year-old former professional Jesse Witten, with the latter taking on most of the responsibility at tournaments.

It was not a high-profile appointment along the lines of Novak Djokovic hiring Boris Becker or Stefan Edberg working with Roger Federer, but Robson would like it to be a lasting one.

She said: "I think Nick's a great coach and I think Jesse is someone great to travel with. I'd like to spend as much time as possible with them. But it's one of those things that you never know how it's going to work out.

"I've got someone like Jesse who's great with all the tactical stuff and then when I'm in Florida with Nick, he's fantastic with all the technical stuff.

"I'm still at that stage where I'm developing as a player and fine-tuning small details - Nick has so much experience with that and Jesse's learning from that and we're kind of working as a unit."

Asked if she would like a superstar coach in a similar mould to Becker, Edberg or Andy Murray's mentor Ivan Lendl, Robson said: "Not just yet.

"It would be good, though, to have Graf, but I don't see her doing it. But it would be quite fun."

Robson trained at Saviano's academy in Florida over the winter and she expects to spend her training breaks there from now on rather than at the National Tennis Centre in London.

She said of the 57-year-old: "I first worked with him when I was 12. He's always been around and we've always chatted to him. I think he's a great coach, and I'll be in Florida quite a lot over the next year and will continue doing my training with him.

"He's here. We've chatted here and there. He's in contact with Jesse quite a bit. When I'm here, Jesse is kind of running everything.

"Jesse is a smart guy and he's had so much experience himself, playing for so many years. And he knows how everything works and it helps that he's really good to hit with. We've done almost two months now. It seems to be going well and I'm happy with it."

A complicating factor is likely to be that Saviano is the primary coach for Canadian Eugenie Bouchard, who is Robson's best friend and the highest-ranked teenager in the world.

Robson said: "That hasn't come up yet. I don't know how it's going to go here. Primarily he's going to be with her. I'll chat to him over dinner and stuff. I'm quite happy to mainly be with Jesse."

Robson's preparations for the Australian Open have been severely hampered by a left wrist problem and she has not yet completed a match this season.

Having withdrawn before the start of her scheduled first tournament in Auckland, the British number one then pulled out midway through her first-round match in Hobart earlier this week.

But she has been practising at Melbourne Park and is optimistic her lack of match play will not hinder her chances.

She said: "I just wasn't quite ready to play a match and didn't want to make anything worse. It seems to be cleared up now. My wrist feels pretty good.

"I'm not someone who needs a load of practice to be able to play well. I've always been naturally quite good at hitting, I guess. I'm happy with how I'm playing right now."

Robson will begin her campaign on Monday against 18th seed Kirsten Flipkens, who reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon last year.

The Belgian has not had particularly good results since her surprise run at the All England Club, though, and stands six inches shorter than Robson.

The British number one reached the third round last year in Melbourne, the city of her birth, beating former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.

She said of Flipkens: "I've seen her play quite a few times. I've never played her, but she's a tricky player, she plays a lots of slices, comes in. It should be interesting."