Exclusive – Laura Robson admits she struggled to come to terms with retirement

Laura Robson

Former British No 1 Laura Robson has admitted she struggled to come to terms with retirement from the game, as injuries brought a premature end to her career.

Robson was being hailed as one of the players to watch when she won the Girls’ Singles title at Wimbledon in 2008 and while she claimed up to No 27 in the world rankings, injuries halted her ambitions to aim for more.

That led to the uncomfortable decision to retire earlier this year and speaking at a Play Your Way To Wimbledon event, Robson revealed she needed time to come to terms with the end of her career.

“It took me a good couple of months to say it out loud,” Robson told Tennis365. To be honest, the only reason I said it was because I was going to play the invitational tournament at Wimbledon. It would have been weird to not be officially retired and play in that.

“It gave me a reason to get it out there, which I feel was much needed. I can now be much more open and positive about how things ended.

“It is weird to be retired at 28, but it is what it is.”

Emma Raducanu has been compared to Robson after her stunning breakthrough year in 2021 culminated with a remarkable win in the US Open, with the one-time protege of British tennis insisting there is no perfect way to reach the top.

“There used to be one pathway that you can do it, but now there are many, many ways,” she added.

“We saw Emma finishing her A-levels and that was really important to her. Whereas before it was all about performance, performance, performance.

“Now we are developing a much more rounded athlete. So being great at 13 doesn’t matter as much any more as long as they are training hard and working on the right things, you might not make it until your mid-20s. As long as you get there, it is all good.”

Play Your Way to Wimbledon, Powered by Vodafone is the UK’s largest grassroots tennis competition and is delivered in partnership with the LTA, the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club and Vodafone.

The competition looks to inspire the next generation of tennis talent; allowing junior players to follow in the footsteps of their heroes and compete for a chance to play on Wimbledon’s iconic courts.

Formerly known as the Road to Wimbledon, the competition launched in March and is delivered in partnership by the LTA, The All-England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, and Vodafone.

Thousands of 14&U and 18&U players will take part in the qualifying stages this year, leading to county and regional finals in June and July, with the winners progressing to the national finals on Wimbledon’s Aorangi Courts in August

With 2,034 events planned across 716 venues, this year’s tournament will deliver over 15,000 playing opportunities across singles and doubles competitions.

From 2023, the LTA and The All-England Lawn Tennis Club are planning for the competition to expand further, through the introduction of additional age groups and disability categories, which Vodafone is proud to support, whilst helping to encourage more kids to pick up a tennis racket.