Wimbledon blog: Laura Robson will be getting loudest cheers

So there I was screaming in that time honoured way of tennis fans: “Come on Laura”. Not aloud you understand, oh no. Only to myself.

Laura Robson
Laura Robson on her way to winning against Maria Kirilenko

And of course Laura obliged – though she’d be inspired by those booming voices from all parts of Show Court 1 more than by wimps like me who only shout to themselves.

Shirley Tart Wimbledon

But it did set me thinking it would be nice if the mantra changed a bit and those wanting to encourage and get behind their player were a little more inventive.

However, that’s all a diversion from the main point. Our girl did do well.

Beating world Number 10 player Russia’s Maria Kirilenko, was a massive ask even for our own Number One. To do it in two convincing sets was fantastic.

Having watched her journey each Wimbledon since she was its junior champ, I wouldn’t miss a Robson match if I could help it. And as she prepares now for a second round clash as the only British woman left in the tournament, here’s my (very loud) contribution: “Come on, Laura!”

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And despite our early losses despite two women in the main draw (Heather Watson went out yesterday) and five wild cards, the Lawn Tennis Association believes the numbers of talented young people coming through is good.

Much Wenlock’s Cathie Sabin, recently nominated as its first female president after being deputy for nearly three years, firmly defends their progress.

Catching up with Cathie over a cup of tea in what for her is a frantically busy fortnight, I asked how she felt about three of them going out so early at Eastbourne for instance the week before Wimbledon, and she said: “If people looked at the statistics they would see that our girls were playing opponents much higher than themselves and they did really play well.

“Elena was as good and fit as I’ve seen her.”

Since Elena Baltacha has beaten a series of threatening health problems, that’s great news.

Win or lose.

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Talking of our Number Two girl Heather Watson, she was dismissed by American teenager Madison Keys, a name which sounds rather like a Florida holiday resort. No holiday feeling for Heather yesterday, though.

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Forget the leading lights in men’s tennis, however talented. You won’t find the one I want to bring home in tournament news.

It’s Neil Stubley for me. Neil has just been appointed head groundsman of the fabulous complex, the youngest at 44 and only the eighth in the 146-year history of the All England Club.

His job is to look after the 19 championship and 22 practice courts which are examined morning and evening every tournament day and technically tested for things like texture and moisture, are immaculately groomed daily and cherished by their dedicated carers. Yup, Neil would be welcome around our acre on a hillside any time!

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I was talking to a steward (who is normally a Kent fireman) as we waited for a change of ends on court three when two worried looking ladies came up and asked if we could direct them to Henman Hill.

They’d been searching for ages, they said, as though they rather expected a big sign to greet them.

My steward friend sent them on their correct way then shaking his head said ‘I keep on telling people they don’t call it Henman Hill any longer.’

Don’t you believe it, matey. One thing’s for sure, even all these years on, Murray Mount still has some way to go before it is accepted by everyone.

Mind you, could that all change by a week next Sunday?

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Andy Murray has been known to eat over 40 pieces of muscle-building sushi in a day, but rising American Sloane Stephens has an alternative approach to nutrition – a diet of curry. The female game’s next big thing has been dining out at the Rajdoot restaurant in Wimbledon every night, making a mockery of the need for post-match ice baths and protein shakes.

“You guys have got to go,” she told the assembled media. “I go there every night. It’s tasty. I really love it, it’s the only Indian that has everything.

“They have coconut naan, popadoms without seeds in them. It’s a plus. I’m committed to them. They like me.”

Whatever Stephens is eating seems to be working, with her star constantly on the rise.

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