Laura to become youngest Briton to play at Wimbledon

June 9th, 2009 - 6:41 pm ICT by IANS  

London, June 9 (IANS) Junior Wimbledon champion Laura Robson will be the youngest Briton to play in the Championships this year after the All England Club decided to award her a wild card.
At 15 years and five months, she is also the youngest from any country since Martina Hingis played in the 1995 tournament at 14 years and nine months.

Robson captured the country’s imagination last summer when she became the first Briton to win the Wimbledon girls’ event since Annabel Croft in 1984.

Winners of the junior competition automatically receive a wild card into qualifying for the senior draw, but this is the fourth year in succession that the All England Club has fast-tracked the girls’ champion into the main event.

There have been only 10 younger players at Wimbledon in modern times. The list features some famous names, including Tracy Austin, Jennifer Capriati, Andrea Jaeger, Gabriela Sabatini and Hingis. Lottie Dod is the youngest Wimbledon champion, having won in 1887 at 15 years and 285 days.

Robson, who will be playing on grass this weekend at the Nottingham Masters exhibition event, made her debut on the senior tour at the end of last year, but has been focusing on her schoolwork recently and has played only junior tournaments in 2009.

The wild cards were announced late Tuesday night and Anne Keothavong, the British No 1, has earned a place in the main draw through her ranking. The next four Britons in the rankings, Elena Baltacha, Katie O’Brien, Mel South and Georgie Stoop, all receive wild cards, as do Michelle Larcher de Brito, the 16-year-old Portuguese who attracted so much attention with her grunting and screaming at the French Open, and the American Alexa Glatch.

In the men’s event, wild cards go to Alex Bogdanovic, who has lost all seven of his first-round matches at Wimbledon, Josh Goodall, James Ward and Dan Evans, as well as Spain’s Juan Carlos Ferrero and Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov, last year’s boys’ champion.

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