CARLSBAD, California (Reuters) - For anyone observing Laura Robson as she watched the Wimbledon men’s final earlier this month they would have been quite justified in thinking she was watching a slasher horror film.
Alone. On a stormy night.
Her hands were sweaty. She could not text her friends. At times she was down on her knees in front of her television in her flat in London.
And when the nerves got really, really bad, the only image she could see of British compatriot Andy Murray’s 6-4 7-5 6-4 victory over Novak Djokovic was through the fingers of her hands, which were covering her eyes.
“I was so nervous, I was sitting in my living room and I was sweating,” Robson told Reuters after her 4-6 7-5 6-2 victory over Japan’s Ayumi Morita in the first round of the Southern California Open on Tuesday.
”I was trying to text my friends and my palms were so sweaty. I was on my knees in front of the TV and I couldn’t watch. I was peeking through my fingers as well.
“It was so, so good.”
The 19-year-old Robson, who had suffered disappointment when she crashed out of the Wimbledon fourth round to Kaia Kanepi, felt her Olympic silver-medal winning mixed doubles partner had control of the final but was wary of the danger Djokovic posed.
“You never know what’s going to happen and especially with Djokovic, he could just come up with four outrageous shots to break back,” she added.
”As bad as it sounds, I was wanting him to double fault a lot and make a lot of unforced errors.
“But it was such a good match and Andy played really, really well.”
Murray’s victory over Djokovic ended a 77-year wait for a British men’s champion on the hallowed grasscourts in south-west London and Robson noticed how much it meant to the country and her sport when she returned to training at the National Training Centre after the tournament ended.
“All the courts were full and even when I was driving back, all the public courts were as well,” she said.
”That was amazing for us, because its the whole point. We have these summer camps that train on our courts and there were like 50 kids there.
“It was crazy and great.”
Robson, who has reached 32nd in the world, has not played since she lost to Estonia’s Kanepi and spent time off away from the game rollerskating, attending concerts and just hanging out with her family.
“I definitely needed a couple of days off after all that madness,” she said of her Wimbledon tournament where she felt she could have gone even deeper into the draw.
“It’s so weird to go from playing the week before in Birmingham and have 10 people watching my match, to having the whole of Henman Hill and Court One going nuts,” she said.
”It’s a big change having everyone film your practice and coming up to you with microphones walking to locker room.
“But its a good experience to go through when you are young, so I’ll be better prepared for next year.”
Robson, who has signed Miles Maclagan to coach her for the rest of the season, will next face third seed Petra Kvitova, who she beat at this year’s Australian Open, in the next round in Carlsbad.
“It was very tough and long match in Melbourne,” Robson said of the second round clash at Melbourne Park that ended with her clinching the third set 11-9.
“I‘m sure she’s going to go into tomorrow with a lot of confidence.”
Editing by Greg Stutchbury