Former British No.1 Tim Henman believes Laura Robson must exercise patience when it comes to her plans in the coming weeks despite making her return from injury at Wimbledon last month.
After almost 18 months of being sidelined due to a wrist injury, Robson made a rare top level competitive tennis appearance at Eastbourne before following that up with a wildcard entry for SW19.
A first round exit to Evgeniya Rodina would then unfortunately follow but the 21-year-old former British number one could at least take comfort from being back on the same circuit as the world’s best.
Two years ago Robson reached a career high of 27 in the world but her absence from the court has seen her drop to her current ranking 736 – although she does however make the main draw of the 2015 US Open courtesy of her protected ranking.
Competition gets underway at the end of the month although Robson’s latest preparations have been hit by a stomach muscle problem.
She is still expected to be fit for Flushing Meadows with Henman sympathising with Robson’s troubles.
“Laura has been out for a long time. The priority must be now just staying injury free,” he said.
“She is a really good player. If she stays injury free and stays patient and keeps working hard then the results will come but I’d say patience is the key word for her.
“It’s very hard being out for that long. It’s hard because she’s had a bad injury.
“But then it’s hard mentally to not get frustrated and not get down and be able to look at the big picture and know that the opportunities will come.
“She needs to get her schedule right, make sure she doesn’t overdo it and doesn’t get any injuries to other parts of her body when she comes back.”
In her absence, Robson has been replaced as Britain’s best female tennis player by Heather Watson – the 23-year-old who pushed world number one Serena Williams close in the third round of Wimbledon.
But rather than be dispirited by dropping down the pecking order, Henman believes Robson will be spurred on by the recent achievements of her British rival.
“It’s a good motivating factor having Heather around,” he added. “She’ll know she’s had lots of good results in the past and if Heather can do it, then there’s no reason why she can’t.
“She’s got good people around her and hopefully she can do that.”
Tim Henman is an HSBC Ambassador. The HSBC Road to Wimbledon National 14 & Under Challenge is the UK’s largest national junior grass court tournament and forms part of HSBC’s investment in the stars of the future.