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Robson keen to emulate Andy Murray in more ways than one

Imitation remains the sincerest form of flattery so perhaps it should not be surprising that Andy Murray's path to the top is becoming a blueprint for success.

Laura Robson was chosen over Heather Watson by Andy Murray to partner him in the mixed doubles event at the London Olympics. Picture: EPA
Laura Robson was chosen over Heather Watson by Andy Murray to partner him in the mixed doubles event at the London Olympics. Picture: EPA

From his attention to detail, to his training methods, his professionalism and his sheer will to win, it seems his influence is already rubbing off.

Laura Robson, the British women's singles player who is on the verge of the world's top 50 after a breakthrough year, revealed yesterday that she is mimicking Murray's methods in a bid to make it big.

Like Murray, whose entourage is the envy of many of his rivals, the 18-year-old Robson is building a team around her, with her coach, Zeljko Krajan, and fitness trainer Dejan Vojnovic to join her at most tournaments in 2013 as she looks to move closer to the top 10.

What's more, the former Wimbledon junior champion leaves for Florida this weekend where she will complete the second half of a six-week training block, upping the hours on and off court in the heat to get herself into ideal physical condition for the Australian Open in January.

"It's basically the first full training block I will have done because most of the time I've been injured at this time, so it's good that I'm finally able to go into Australia with some solid training behind me," Robson said, as she relaxed at the National Tennis Centre in London, where she began her off-season training three weeks ago.

"It's usually a 7.45 or 8 start, warming up until 9; 9-11 tennis; 11 to about 12.30 fitness; and then 3.30-5.30 tennis, so I start warming up again at 3; then after tennis I'll either have another gym session or recovery stuff. I've been doing ice baths every day, long days – I've been getting home very tired."

Robson and Murray will not be training together – Robson's probably not quite ready for that yet – but they will be only a few miles apart as Robson practises at the Chris Evert Tennis Academy in Boca Raton.

Robson has spent more time with Murray than most British players, teaming up twice in the mixed team exhibition – the Hopman Cup – in preparation for the Australian Open in 2010 and 2011, and then partnering him to silver medal in mixed doubles at this summer's Olympic Games. Murray chose Robson above Heather Watson and the pair hit it off again, though Robson sympathised with her friend's disappointment at not being picked.

"I think it was totally understandable for Heather to want to play," Robson said. "I would have felt the same – and she was the No.1 ranked doubles player and singles player at the time so it was a tough decision.

"I wasn't involved in the process of making it, so I don't know why it was made. I was obviously very happy to have been picked, and it seemed to work out pretty well."

More than that, it was a performance that sparked Robson's surge towards the top. She beat Kim Clijsters and Li Na to reach the last 16 at the US Open in September before she then made her first WTA Tour final later in the same month.

"It was a lot of fun that week," said Robson, laughing off suggestions that Murray was an intimidating partner. "We were both taking it very seriously and he was getting very into it.

"It's very easy to play with someone like Andy. I think he did a lot of the work when we were on court. He's very encouraging. I always felt really bad if I missed a shot and he was like, 'no, it doesn't matter'; then as soon as he missed a shot, he was like, 'oh, I can't believe it'. He was very good to play with."

The 20-year-old Watson, who at No.49 is ranked four places higher, and Robson are often mentioned in the same breath, the two big hopes for British women's tennis as Elena Baltacha considers her future and with Anne Keothavong is in the twilight of her career.

"I'm working extremely hard, so I'm planning on going in [to the year] with a lot of confidence," said Robson. "And I'll be a lot fitter than previous years, that's for sure."

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