Wimbledon announced its Wild Cards for the 2009 Championships and the big news is the inclusion of last year’s girl’s singles winner Laura Robson. Robson was a huge hit with the SW19 crowd and has become the world’s top female junior since winning Wimbledon last year.
Robson will be joined by a contingent of British women: Elena Baltacha, Katie O’Brien, Melanie South and Georgie Stoop.
After winning last year’s final, Robson was asked how she would fare against ladies’ champion Venus Williams. She replied, “I will take her down”, now we might get the chance to see if she does. How far can Laura go? No female Wild Card recipient has ever progressed further than the Fourth Round – although four players have made it that far. Maria Sharapova reached the Fourth Round in 2003 on a Wild Card.
“From the sounds of it, there is going to be quite a lot of pressure so I am just going to have to deal with that,” Robson told the Evening Standard. “I don’t know what I am going to do but all I can do is go on court and try my best. Then, win or lose, if I have tried my best then I cannot be unhappy.
“I always change my game a bit depending on what surface it is, so on grass I will start to play a lot more aggressively and work on my serve again,” she said. “I remember from last year, I hated grass for the first week and a half and then I had a change of attitude and realised that actually I could play quite well on grass. But it’s not easy in the first couple of days because the ball bounces differently.”
Robson will become the youngest Wild Card entrant since Martina Hingis in 1995. She will be hoping to perform better than the Swiss, who was beaten in the first round in straight sets by Steffi Graf.
The other interesting Wild Card in the ladies’ draw is Michelle de Brito Larcher. She is the Portugese 16-year-old who was booed and heckled at the French Open because of the noise she generated while playing a shot. It was so loud that her opponent, France’s Aravane Rezai, complained to the umpire and the tournament referee spoke to her about her shrieking.
Last year’s boy’s champion Grigor Dimitrov also gets a wild card. He will be joined by Brits Alex Bogdanovic, Daniel Evans and Joshua Goodall. Goran Ivanisevic is the only male to have won the Wimbledon title as a Wild Card entrant after his famous win in 2001.