1. ITV Report

Laura Robson: Family ball girl to Wimbledon contender

Laura Robson initially found herself assuming the role of family ball girl. The situation now could not be more different.

Robson - now the British number one - is bidding to become the first British women's player to reach the last eight of Wimbledon in nearly 30 years when she faces Estonian Kaia Kanepi later today.

Great Britain's Laura Robson celebrates winning the second set against New Zealand's Marina Erakovic Credit: Adam Davy/PA Wire

Robson, who was born in Australia before moving to the UK from Singapore at the age of six, began playing tennis as soon as she could hold a racquet according to her parents.

The family moved to to Teddington, west London in 2000, and later to Wimbledon - minutes from the All England Club.

The youngest of three children in a sporty family, Robson found herself excluded from doubles matches and was instead relegated to the role of ball girl.

Great Britain's Laura Robson celebrates her victory during the Junior Wimbledon Championship Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA Archive/

However, encouraged by her mother, a former professional Basketball player, and father, a senior Shell executive, Robson soon began training at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton.

The British number one shot to prominence when she won the girls' title at Wimbledon at just 14 - making her the youngest champion since Martina Hingis and the first Brit since Annabel Croft in 1984 to claim the title.

Laura Robson celebrates her 2008 Junior Wimbledon title victory. Credit: Adam Davy/EMPICS Sport

At the age of 15 years and 152 days, she made her senior Wimbledon debut losing out in the first round.

Her debut took place just 10 days after sitting her GCSE English exam with her mother describing the unique and sometimes unfair pressure placed on the star.

She said: "Other kids don't have that sort of pressure. I don't think it was really fair but we couldn't change it."

Great Britain's Laura Robson celebrates defeating Colombia's Mariana Duque-Marino Credit: EMPICS Sport

The 19-year-old has seen her reputation soar following her impressive run to the second week of the championships, beating 10th seed Maria Kirilenko, Mariana Duque-Marino and Marina Erakovic in the process.

Robson can count David Cameron and boy band One Direction amongst her growing legion of fans:

It was 2012 which proved to be a breakthrough year for the teenager, making headlines at the US Open by beating former champion Kim Clijsters in her last competitive match before retirement on her way to the fourth round. She went on to claim an Olympic Silver medal alongside Andy Murray in the mixed doubles.

Britain's Laura Robson pictured after her US Open victory over Belgian Kim Clijsters Credit: Press Association Images

Robson also became the first British woman since Jo Durie, in 1990, to reach a WTA main tour final in the Guangzhou Open.

The 19-year-old was also named WTA Newcomer of the Year for 2012.

Tennis silver medalist Laura Robson smiles as she takes part in the London 2012 Victory Parade for Team GB Credit: Paul Gilham/PA Archive/

Currently ranked 38 in the world, Robson has been tipped to reach the top of the game by former players John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova and Virginia Wade as well as the current Wimbledon champion Serena Williams.

Williams told the Evening Standard : “Laura’s a great person, first of all. I think that starts a really good career. She has an unbelievable game and she is so powerful. She’s really positive and just so good.

“I think those are the qualities you need to be a top player and she definitely has them all."

Laura Robson arriving at the WTA Wimbledon Party 2013, at Kensington Roof Gardens Credit: Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment

Robson is not afraid to show her lighter side away from the tennis court as this home-made "Gangnam Style" video created with close friend and fellow player Eugenie Bouchard demonstrates:

However the youngster remains focused on her tennis admitting :

"The majority of the time I'm focusing on how to improve and things like that. But that's the choice that I made."

After her 2008 Junior Wimbledon title victory, Ladbrokes shortened the odds of Robson winning Wimbledon by 2020 from 50-1 to 20-1.

On current form you would not bet against her.

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