Laura Robson: My message to Andy Murray – and why I’m positive about Emma Raducanu

Laura Robson: My message to Andy Murray – and why I’m positive about Emma Raducanu
Laura Robson will be one of the main faces of Sky Sports' tennis coverage - Sky Sports

Laura Robson has implored Andy Murray to ignore his critics and play tennis for as long as he wants despite being in the worst slump of his decorated career.

The three-time major title winner has lost nine of his last 10 matches and is yet to record a victory this year, leaving him on the brink of slipping out of the world’s top 50.

Last month, Murray hit back at claims his legacy is being tarnished by his current form and Robson, who partnered with Murray to a mixed doubles silver medal at the London Olympics in 2012, has now backed the 36-year-old.

Laura Robson and Andy Murray playing together at London 2012
Robson partnered Andy Murray to mixed doubles silver at the 2012 Olympics - PA/Andrew Milligan

“It’s been done a lot with different legends over the past few years when they’ve had bad results, ‘Oh they should retire so they don’t tarnish their legacy’,” Robson said.

“As long as someone loves the sport, wants to keep playing and give 110 per cent to it, then who is to say that it is not enough?

“With Andy, because I’ve seen it in the last year how hard he’s worked on the practice court, what he’s achieved in some of the lower ranked tournaments, it is such hard work to win 10 matches in a row like he did on the grass courts last year. But all of a sudden that’s forgotten when he loses two matches.

“I want him to play for as long as he wants to play. Who knows how long that will be but I guess we will see over the next few months.”

Andy Murray loses in the first round of the Australian Open
Murray lost in the first round of this year's Australian Open - Getty Images/Will Murray

Emma Raducanu is another British player searching for confidence and wins but hopes of a deep run at the Abu Dhabi Open were cut short by a clinical display from world No 6 Ons Jabeur, who sent the 2021 US Open winner crashing out in the second round.

There had been signs of progress in her two matches and Robson feels patience is needed as Raducanu works with latest coach Nick Cavaday.

“I was so positive coming out of Australia with how she was playing,” Robson said. “Even if she plays in big tournaments, she will pick up wins because her level is there. The expectations aren’t on the results at the moment, it’s about focusing on her body and being as healthy as possible.

“Nick offers her familiarity because they’ve known each other for so long and he understands what she wants to get out of her game. They’ve been able to bring a more aggressive side to her tennis again, getting after her shots and trying to play closer to the baseline.

“Iain Bates [head of women’s tennis at the LTA] has also played a part in that, so she has a nice group of people that she’s stuck with for the time she’s been injured. It’s a balance of different inputs and voices but all with the same goal in mind.”

Emma Raducanu is outclassed by Ons Jabeur at the Abu Dhabi Open
Emma Raducanu was outclassed by Ons Jabeur at the Abu Dhabi Open - AFP/Ryan Lim

Robson will be one of the main faces of Sky Sports’ tennis coverage, with its bespoke channel launching on Feb 11, and the 30-year-old has sought advice from the likes of Laura Woods and Gabby Logan as she combines her broadcasting work with roles as tournament director of the Rothesay Open in Nottingham and head of player relations at Wimbledon.

“Tennis is my absolute passion so when I retired I knew I wanted to stay as involved as possible,” she said. “I’ve taken so much advice from incredible broadcasters like Gigi [Salmon], Laura and Gabby. I want to be as natural as possible but ultimately you want to get your point across in a way that someone at home would understand.”

Robson is quick to dismiss suggestions that she could become the next Sue Barker, though, saying: “She is irreplaceable and one of my favourite people. She’s someone that’s given me a lot of advice. I don’t want to be the new Sue and I don’t think anyone can be. When you think of Wimbledon, you think of Sue.”

Sky Sports Tennis – the new home for tennis fans – launches on Feb 11 on Sky and NOW

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