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Laura Robson looks ahead to Emma Raducanu and Jack Draper’s Australian Open hopes | Tennis News


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Sky Sports’ tennis analyst Laura Robson looks ahead to the prospect of Emma Raducanu taking on Katie Boulter at the Australian Open and reflects on spending Christmas time in sunny Melbourne.

Raducanu will make her Grand Slam return against American Shelby Rogers but the 2021 US Open champion would consider it a triumph to get to the second week after eight months on the sidelines.

Robson, who announced her retirement from the sport in 2022 due to a number of injury problems, has plenty of sympathy for what the 21-year-old has been through since her fairy-tale triumph in New York and appears excited by the prospect of what is to come from the Brit.

I think you can tell from the smile on her face and she’s absolutely gunning to be out there.

Laura Robson on Emma Raducanu

Emma Raducanu of Great Britain talks to the media ahead of the 2024 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 12, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia (Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images)
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Raducanu attended a press conference in Melbourne on Friday where she was all smiles

Raducanu returns to Grand Slam action after an eight-month break following surgery on both wrists and one ankle against Rogers, who was one of the players she beat on her way to victory in New York.

Robson, 29. said: “It’s a good test to play someone who’s a fairly big hitter from the back of the court because Emma likes that power coming on to her and I was impressed with how she played in Auckland against Elina Svitolina.

“From what I’ve seen and heard of her practising in Melbourne, she’s striking the ball so cleanly, really trying to play it as aggressive as possible. Hopefully, that’s a good outcome but at the same time the results almost don’t matter for her at the moment. It’s about getting back on court as much as possible in match situations and trying to stay as healthy as possible.”

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The best of the action from Raducanu’s match against Elina Svitolina at the ASB Classic in Auckland

Robson, a Wimbledon junior champion at the age of 14, claims Raducanu, who has reunited with childhood coach Nick Cavaday, is happy with her game once again.

“I’m very happy to see her back. I know how hard she’s been working over the last six, seven months and I just think she’s got some of that joy back of playing tennis the way she used to back in the day, when you first picked up a racket and you just want to crack the ball and that’s what she does best,” said Robson.

“I think you can tell from the smile on her face and she’s absolutely gunning to be out there. She’s got the support of Ian Bates, who has done the majority of the work over the last few months with her, and then Nick has come out here for extra support and a bit more guidance.

“I know she is big on doing a lot of the research herself before she faces someone, but it’s always handy to have someone with you.”

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Katie Boulter says a shift in perspective has helped her to become British No 1

There is the tantalising prospect of a potential Battle of the Brits between Raducanu and Katie Boulter in the third round, but could it actually happen?

“I’d love it if it did,” Robson said. “Both of them would be very happy to play each other if it came down to that and if Emma’s back in the third round in only her second Grand Slam back from injury then that would be unreal. You couldn’t ask for a better start to the season after being so far out of the game.”

Then of course there’s 22-year-old Jack Draper, who is going from strength to strength having been held back so far by injuries.

He missed a lot of last season but finished strongly and has all the tools to reach the very top of the game.

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The best of the action from Jack Draper against Alexander Bublik in the semi-finals of the Adelaide International

“He came to Australia a week later to the rest and watching him play over the last few days in Adelaide you can see the work that he’s done in the off season, he looks really strong and physically as fit as I’ve ever seen him because the men’s game is getting more and more physical, everyone is a great athlete and everyone is fast and strong,” reflected Robson.

“He’s up there with some of the best players in the world and anyone who has seen Jack play in real life knows he has the game because he’s got such a big serve. He’s a tall guy with a huge serve. I’m buzzing for Jack and hopefully he won’t be too tired for the major in Melbourne.

“It’s also great to see a true lefty out there, we have to stick together.”

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Draper explains the impact Andy Murray has had on his career, describing him as an inspiration

Robson, who was born in Australia and still has family living Down Under, arrived in the country even before Santa on December 14 where she spent Christmas before beginning work as a TV analyst and commentator at the United Cup team competition.

Auntie Laura has been keeping herself busy too! Top of the list was buying presents for her niece and nephew. She also took a trip to see the wondrous Twelve Apostles, attending the traditional Boxing Day Test cricket match at the MCG and also recommending restaurants to her fellow Brits.

A general view of the Twelve Apostles on February 23, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. The Twelve Apostles is a collection of limestone stacks off the shore of the Port Campbell National Park, by the Great Ocean Road. Despite the name, the popular tourist attraction actually consists of 8 pillars. (Photo by Xavier Laine/Getty Images)
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Robson took a trip to see the Twelve Apostles which is a collection of limestone stacks off the shore of the Port Campbell National Park

“I saw my niece and nephew a lot and it’s lovely because they’re at an age where they know what Christmas is but they aren’t quite sure what time of year it is, so when I arrive it’s just as exciting as Santa because we come so close together,” the 29-year-old former British No 1 told Sky Sports.

“So auntie Laura comes, she brings presents and Santa also comes and brings presents, so it’s a win, win for them.

“My nephew loves Dinosaurs – the bigger the better – and my niece loves books.

“I also went down to the Twelve Apostles for the first time, which considering I was born here and my parents have lived here for a long time, it was nice to tick that off the bucket list.

“We also did the annual Boxing Day Test at the MSG, which is the Robson tradition and then I flew to Sydney the next day for the United Cup so it works out as a long stint but it’s been really good.”

What about the food options? “They do really good Vietnamese food here in Melbourne and really good fusion,” added Robson. “Chin Chin restaurant is amazing but all the players tend to go to Nobu, but I think there are better options.”

Food for thought ahead of the Australian Open, which starts on Sunday, January 14.

Laura Robson was talking to Sky Sports’ Raz Mirza from Melbourne. Watch the WTA and ATP Tours throughout 2024 on Sky Sports. Stream tennis and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership

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