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New British champion Laura Robson wins hearts at Wimbledon

July 5, 2008
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Just two days ago, few people in Britain had heard of 14-year-old Laura Robson. Now the tennis player has sealed her place in the nation's affections after winning the Wimbledon girls' title on Saturday.

In a fairytale ending to her debut appearance at the All England Tennis Club, the pretty wildcard entrant won in a convincing three sets. And, as she played her final shot against number three seed Noppawan Lertcheewakarn, it was to mum Kathy that the Melbourne-born player looked as Court One cheered her success.

Laura is the first British player to win the event since Annabel Croft, in 1984, and the youngest since Martina Hingis in 1994. Her success gives her another wildcard entry into next year's championships, this time in the women's league. Not that Laura has any fears – she's already issued a warning to Saturday's ladies champ Venus Williams. "I'd take her down," said the teenager.

Amongst the support of all the country, Laura admitted she had received one extra-special message. Her hero, Marat Safin, had written a note of luck to the teen, who had hoped the hunky 28-year-old Russian would accompany her to tonight's Champions Ball.

"To Laura, I'm sorry I couldn't come to the ball but good luck," said the message. Not that the Melbourne-born player needed to read it any more – she had learned it by heart.

"He's turned me down unfortunately," laughed Laura, "but I think he's a bit old for me anyway."

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Photo: ©
By beating her Thai opponent 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, Laura became the first Brit to to win the Wimbledon girls' final since Annabel Croft 24 years ago Photo: © Getty Images
Photo: ©
Proud mum Kathy celebrates as Centre One gives a standing ovation. "I shall have to twist her arm now to make her do her chores after this," she joked Photo: © Getty Images

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