Hampton serves final notice

2013 AEGON International, Caroline Wozniacki, Jamie Hampton, News

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

jamie hampton makes finalJamie Hampton sent former world no1 Caroline Wozniacki crashing out the AEGON International with a sizzling and determined display to book a place in Saturday’s final for a shot at her first WTA Tour title.

The 23-year-old American ace, who was two points away from defeat, battled back to register her sixth success since Saturday with a 6-7 7-5 6-3 triumph in a marathon 164 minutes.

And Hampton repeated Austria’s Tamira Paszek’s 2012 Eastbourne feat by becoming a qualifier to reach the final at Devonshire Park by hammering 48 winners, twice as many as Wozniacki.

Hampton said:

“I didn’t come just to play the qualifying and I was hoping to get deep into this tournament.

“The conditions were a little tricky today, I’ve noticed that about Eastbourne – the conditions are a little rougher than everywhere else.

“I’m proud of myself, but I had a few set points in the first and kind of choked them away a little bit.”

Hampton started the week at the sleepy seaside resort as world no41 but will climb as 19 ranking places if she is crowned champion on Saturday.

Wozniacki was unable to match Hampton’s raw power and fierce shots, and soon slipped behind in the opening set. But the Dane averting the scares trailing 4-2 and 5-4 to force a tiebreak, which she scraped 8-6 from a 5-2 deficit after 62 minutes, and sealed with a backhand cross-court drive.

With the Danish star on the brink of victory at 5-4 30-0, Hampton fought back brilliantly and levelled matters with an outrageously ambitious backhand winner down the line to stun Wozniacki.

The Dane was then gifted three break points, but Hampton dug deep to square the intriguing tie. Although Wozniacki appeared to be en route to within touching distant of claiming her first title since October 2012, she surprisingly fluffed the hour-long second set after leading 5-4 by losing the next three games.

Wozniacki appeared again surged ahead, taking a 2-0 third set lead but Hampton kept thundering winners to level the contest.

But Wozniacki, using her new blackened out Yonex racquet to great effect to utilise both her spin and becoming a driving force from the baseline with thunderous drives, was outperformed in the decisive set.

Hampton continued to force the Dane to scramble for points, and once she broke serve in the eighth game there was only one winner in their first encounter on the WTA circuit.

Hampton’s gutsy exploits at Eastbourne this week will make her a player, assuming she is not too exhausted after seven matches at the 2013 AEGON International, to avoid at Wimbledon. She faces compatriot Sloane Stephens, the no17 seed, in the 1st Round at SW19.

The Dane, a highly popular figure at Devonshire Park as a regular competitor, suffered the same fate as her run-up to the 2013 French Open of losing to a player that she was expected to brush aside.

Wozniacki has lost in five out of her past six tournaments to lesser players, with the world no9 aiming to get back on track when faces little-known Spaniard Estrella Cabeza-Candela in her opening match at Wimbledon.

The Dane admitted:

“I would have loved to have won, it would have been worth it to be out there for three hours. I had my chances but I didn’t take them.

“It was very difficult, the wind was swirling around – but we did it very well out there.

“I feel happy to be on grass, I’m feeling good. I feel like my game is where I want it to be, so hopefully at Wimbledon I’ll do well.”

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Hot-shot Wozniacki guns down Makarova

2013 AEGON International, Caroline Wozniacki, Ekaterina Makarova, Ladies Singles

Caroline Wozniacki quarter-finalCaroline Wozniacki bounced back to reel off an impressive 4-6 6-0 6-3 victory in a three set thriller over Russian Ekatrina Makarova to set up a semi-final showdown with American qualifier Jamie Hampton.

And the Dane completed the rout to continue with a 100% winning career record against Makarova by registering her sixth success, on the back of three hard court triumphs last year against the world no25.

The world no9, who admits to having a soft spot for Devonshire Park after 10 seasons at the sleepy seaside resort outperformed the left hander. She following up her grinding straight set success over British teenager Laura Robson with another polished performance.

The no5 seed, whose plans to pitch up early at Eastbourne for practice after her 2nd Round exit at Roland Garros were scuppered by an airport strike, has a game perfectly suited to grass.

The semi-final spot overshadowed her indifference clay court displays, and leaves the ex-world no1 brimming with confidence ahead of SW19 – where last year she was bundled out in the 1st Round by newly-crowned Eastbourne winner Tamira Pazsek of Austria.

Wozniacki, yet to win a Grand Slam but settled for runner-up at the US Open, appeared with a blackened out racquet for the third time at the tournament. She is experimenting with the Yonex racquet, seeking extra power and spin to propel her way back up the world rankings.

And on the evidence of today’s triumph, it won’t be much longer before the Dane becomes great again on the WTA Tour and challenging for honours on the circuit rather than making up the numbers.

Wozniacki’s destruction of defending champion Paszek and Robson gave notice to the rest of the WTA Tour that she is back in business, and is surely a potential champion at Eastbourne.

Makarova was the litmus test for Wozniacki, with the former Devonshire Park winner having not dropped a set in her thrashing Russian compatriot Olga Puchkova and then stunning no3 seed Angelique Kerber of Germany.

The 22-year-old fell for a sixth successive match to Wozniacki, who remains on course to collect her first trophy since last October.

Wozniacki made a nervous start, with the pace of the opening set dictated by Makarova to snatch the lead, but nine successive games on the trot turned the tide for the ex-world no1 to stay on course for a shot at a second Eastbourne title.

Makarova fell apart in the second set, unforced errors brought an end to her challenge, with the Danish ex-world no1 hitting a purple patch of penetrating play in sudden cruise control.

With a third set to decide which former Eastbourne winner would progress, Makarova’s errors suddenly vanished and she returned to the sort of form displayed earlier in the tournament with such devastating effect.

But it was Wozniacki who was firing all the shots and confidently gunned down the Russian with aplomb.

The Dane reeled off the first three games and progressed to a 4-1 lead. Then nerves set in for Wozniacki as Makarova fought back to trail 4-3, only for the Russian to rush her service game that she lost.

With victory in sight, Wozniacki kept calm and took her time to serve out the match and claim a tough victory.With Wozniacki broken three times in the first set, the impressive manner in storming back with her counterpunching abilities proved too hot to handle for Makarova and a bagel set.

The great Dane said: “She came out very aggressively today, it was a very good match as she plays flat and fast.

“I’m just so happy to have won today and look forward to returning to the Centre Court.”

Paszek left out by Wozniacki

2013 AEGON International, Caroline Wozniacki, News, Players, Tamira Paszek

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

Tamira PaszekTamira Paszek’s defence of the Eastbourne crown she spectacularly won in such style last summer petered out with a retirement midway through the second set to former world no1 Caroline Wozniacki.

The Dubai-based Austrian ace, who calls the sleepy seaside resort her second home as she stays with her Godparents during the popular Wimbledon warm-up event, was out-of-sorts from the start.

She has struggled this season, with just one victory on the WTA circuit all year going into the 2013 French Open, and her performance at Devonshire Park was never going to trouble the great Dane – injury or not.

After four breaks of serve, lacklustre Paszek simply didn’t look a shadow of the outstanding grass court player that she has been in the past – including a quarter-final berth at Wimbledon aged 16 and a 1st Round success over Wozniacki at SW19 last year.

Wozniacki, watched in the stands by her boyfriend – professional golfer Rory McIlroy – was locked at 2-2 in a coy second set but was gifted a 2nd Round place when Paszek retired with a recurrence of her left thigh injury.

Paszek surprisingly broke to lead 2-1 in the second set before receiving treatment, but lost her next service game and retired.

And it was a real relief for Wozniacki, whose career has nosedived since she started her romance with McIlroy, following a woeful set of results on clay.

There is little in Wozniacki’s recent form to suggest that she will turn her fortunes around, although she has previously won at Eastbourne and with a game suited to grass could be a dark horse to race to the semi-finals – and maybe beyond.

Six appeal for Wimbledon ladies

Agnieszka Radwanska, Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki, Elena Vesnina, Li Na, Maria Kirilenko, News, Petra Kvitova, Players

aegon international 2013Six of the top 10 seeds for 2013 Wimbledon are competing at Eastbourne in a warm-up for the coveted Grand Slam event.

Former Devonshire champion Agnieszka Radwanska is the highest of the seeds (no4) playing at Devonshire Park, Li Na (no6), Angelique Kerber (no7), ex-Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova (no8), former AEGON International titleholder Caroline Wozniacki (no9) and Maria Kirilenko (no10) make up six of the best.

And there are 10 other players at Eastbourne who have also been seeded, including Serbian Ana Ivanovic who made a brief appearance at the 2013 AEGON International after being stunned in three sets by Russian Elena Vesnina.

2013 Wimbledon seeds for Ladies Singles draw:

  1. Serena WILLIAMS
  2. Victoria AZARENKA
  3. Maria SHARAPOVA
  4. Agnieszka RADWANSKA
  5. Sara ERRANI
  6. LI Na
  7. Angelique KERBER
  8. Petra KVITOVA
  9. Caroline WOZNIACKI
  10. Maria KIRILENKO
  11. Roberta VINCI
  12. Ana IVANOVIC
  13. Nadia PETROVA
  14. Sam STOSUR
  15. Marion BARTOLI
  16. Jelena JANKOVIC
  17. Sloane STEPHENS
  18. Dominika CIBULKOVA
  19. Carla SUAREZ NAVARRO
  20. Kirsten FLIPKENS
  21. Anastasia PAVLYUCHENKOVA
  22. Sorana CIRSTEA
  23. Sabine LISICKI
  24. PENG Shuai
  25. Ekaterina MAKAROVA
  26. Svetlana KUZNETSOVA
  27. Varvara LEPCHENKO
  28. Lucie SAFAROVA
  29. Tamira PASZEK
  30. Alize CORNET
  31. Mona BARTHEL
  32. Romina OPRANDI

2013 Ladies Draw

2013 AEGON International, Agnieszka Radwanska, Ana Ivanovic, Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki, Ekaterina Makarova, Elena Baltacha, Johanna Konta, Laura Robson, Li Na, Maria Kirilenko, Marion Bartoli, Nadia Petrova, Petra Kvitova, Players, Sam Stosur, Sara Errani, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Tamira Paszek, WTA Players

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

aegon international 2013

2013 Ladies Draw

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Marion BartoliMarion Bartoli, a former Eastbourne champion, was the player most feared in the opening match for seeded players and others alike.
The tenacious and unorthodox French ace, who briefly parted ways from her father’s coaching, has always made an impression on the Devonshire Park grass – but faces Flavia Pennetta in her first match.
Bartoli has missed out on being seeded although briefly was the provisional no8 when Italian Sara Errani made a late withdrawal through injury.
Originally Aussie ace Sam Stosur was a swift replacement to relegate the 29-year-old from becoming a seeded player, but then Eastbourne regular Nadia Petrova of Russia took the last seeded place.
If Bartoli overcomes Italian Pennetta then she faces the winner of no2 seed Li Na and Alize Cornet.
Li was granted a wildcard entry following a poor performance at the 2013 French Open and post-match comments that upset her nation. The Chinese no1 and ex-Roland Garros champion will be eager to kick start her grass court season with progress at Devonshire Park.
Stosur, who only made late applications for wildcard entries at both Birmingham and Eastbourne grass court court events, dropped down the world rankings and out of the top 10 following a poor showing at Roland Garros.
She was usurped by Petrova, an Eastbourne favourite, as the no8 seed and fate would have it that they will face-off in the 1st Round with the winner to play either Angelique Kerber or Sorana Cirstea in the battle of the babes.
No3 seed Kerber fluffed five match points in the 2012 AEGON International final to Austrian ace Tamira Paszek, so the German will be determined to go one step better having learnt from her mistakes and is the most proable champion in a very demanding draw.
There are four other former Eastbourne champions in the draw – Russians Svetlana Kuznetsova and Ekaterina Makarova plus top seed Agnieszka Radwanska and Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki.
Many are deeming the 2013 AEGON International to be a two-horse race between Radwanska – who faces either Su-Wei Hsieh or British wildcard Johanna Konta in the 2nd Round if she defeats a qualifier in her first match – and no5 seed Wozniacki who is the same half as the Polish ace.
Wozniacki faces Paszek in arguably the tie of the opening Round, with a 2nd Round clash against either British no1 Laura Robson or a qualifier on offer for the winner. Wozniacki fell in the 1st Round at last year’s Wimbledon to Paszek, who was riding on a crest of the wave with seven victories at Eastbourne to surprisingly pick up the crown.
Paszek may not be having the best season on the WTA Tour, and arrived at Devonshire Park for 2012 with a similar stop-start season, but she does excel on grass and reached the 2007 Wimbledon 4th Round aged just 16.
Paszek, who spends the tournament week staying with her Godparents who live in Eastbourne, said: “I have a tough 1st Round but it is such an amazing draw again this year. I’m going to give it my all and do my very best to win back-to-back titles.”
Petra Kvitova has never had much luck at Eastbourne, so the Czech Republic ace will be keen to put that record straight ahead of SW19. The Former Wimbledon winner is the no4 seed and has been drawn to face either Monica Niculesclesc in the 1st Round.
The glamorous pair of Russian Maria Kirilenko (no7 seed) and Serbian star Ana Ivanovic (no8 seed) should not detract from their impressive array of tennis weapons, although neither are likely to win the tournament.
Kirilenko is set to face Bojana Jovanoski with either Brit Elena Baltacha or a qualifier the 2nd Round opponent for the victor, while Ivanovic has been drawn against Elena Vesnina. The winner faces either British no2 Heather Watson or American ace Varvara Lepchenko.
Seeds are:
  1. Agnieszka RADWANSKA
  2. LI Na
  3. Angelique KERBER
  4. Petra KVITOVA
  5. Caroline WOZNIACKI
  6. Maria KIRILENKO
  7. Ana IVANOVIC
  8. Nadia PETROVA

Ladies Draw:

(1)Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) vs (qualifier)
(WC)Johanna Konta (GBR) vs Su Wei Hsieh (TPE)
Klara Zakopalova (CZE) vs Lucie Safarova (CZE) [head-to-head 5-3]
(WC)Sam Stosur (AUS) vs (8)Nadia Petrova (RUS) [3-6]
(3)Angelique Kerber (GER) vs Sorana Cirstea (ROU) [1-1]
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) vs (q)
Laura Robson (GBR) vs (q)
Tamira Paszek (AUT) vs (5)Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) [1-1]
(6)Maria Kirilenko (RUS) vs Bojana Jovanovski (SRB)
(WC)Elena Baltacha (GBR) vs (q)
Christina McHale (USA) vs Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) [0-2]
Monica Niculescu (ROU) vs (4)Petra Kvitova (CZE)
(7)Ana Ivanovic (SRB) vs Elena Vesnina (RUS) [2-0]
Varvara Lepchenko (USA) vs Heather Watson (GBR)
Flavia Pennetta (ITA) vs Marion Bartoli (FRA) [1-3]
Alize Cornet (FRA) vs (2)Li Na (CHN) [0-2]

marion bartoli eastbourne 2012

Errani withdrawal promotes Stosur

2013 AEGON International, Agnieszka Radwanska, Ana Ivanovic, Caroline Wozniacki, Ekaterina Makarova, EXCLUSIVE, Li Na, Maria Kirilenko, Marion Bartoli, Nadia Petrova, Petra Kvitova, Players, Sam Stosur, Sara Errani, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Tamira Paszek, Yaroslava Shvedova

Exclusive by Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

Sam Stosur Sam Stosur has been elevated to the no8 seeding as Italian Sara Errani withdrew from Eastbourne on Thursday afternoon.

Errani, who reached the semi-finals at the French Open but only picked up a single game against eventual champion Serena Williams, is suffering from a foot strain and an abductor strain.

The Aussie ace, who only opted for late wildcards at the grass court tournaments in Birmingham and Eastbourne instead of practice.

Her trademark kick serve is exposed to daze and confuse opponents, with the rest of the seeded players probably breathing a sigh of relief that they won’t have to face her in the opening round.

And with an incredible line-up for this year’s pre-Wimbledon tournament at Eastbourne, it is probably the best place to watch grass court tennis outside of The Championships at SW19.

Six former champions – Agnieszka Radwanska, Caroline Wozniacki, Marion Bartoli, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Tamira Paszek and Ekatrina Makarova – face stiff competition from the world’s leading ladies.

German Anglique Kerber, who let five match points slip in last year’s final, will be amongst the favourites to be crowned 2013 AEGON International champion.

Petra Kvitova, the Czech Republic’s 2011 Wimbledon winner, has the ability to go all the way on grass whereas top 10 ace Chinese no1 Li Na does not have the style of game particularly suited to grass.

However, grass court experts Stosur and Serbian star Ana Ivanovic will be relishing the opportunity of competing against the top players ahead of Wimbledon, although neither are likely to lift the crown on 22 June 2013.

There are an intriguing trio of Russians also in with a chance of making the final. Maria Kirilenko will be joined by relative veteran Nadia Petrova on their respective hunt for glory.

Players to watch, but who won’t be crowned 2013 Eastbourne champion, include British youngsters Laura Robson and Heather Watson.

America’s rising star Sloane Stephens and Kazakhstani’s Yaroslava Shvedova have withdrawn from the event.

Seeds are:

  1. Agnieszka RADWANSKA
  2. LI Na
  3. Angelique KERBER
  4. Petra KVITOVA
  5. Caroline WOZNIACKI
  6. Maria KIRILENKO
  7. Ana IVANOVIC
  8. Sam STOSUR

Pressure mounts on Paszek

Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki, News, Players, Tamira Paszek, WTA Players

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

2012champpaszekTamira Paszek returns as the defending champion at Eastbourne eager to bounce back from Tuesday’s shock defeat to American qualifier Alison Riske at Birmingham.

The world no29 fell in three sets to Pittsburgh’s Riske at the AEGON Classic, who avenged the previous week’s reversal on the grass in Nottingham.

Austrian ace Paszek was fully aware how dangerous a qualifier can be in a draw, having claimed last year’s Devonshire Park title with seven straight wins that began in the qualifying stages.

But Paszek arrives at Eastbourne having only just beaten off a bout of flu and bronchitis to kick off the grass court season, her favourite surface. And she has suffered a start-stop season on the WTA Tour throughout 2013 due to a combination of injury and illness.

Paszek explained: “It has been a very hard year so far. I’ve had a pinched nerve in my shoulder, I had a virus at the beginning of the year then bronchitis during the clay season.

“I hope England is good to me because every time I arrive here it feels like my second home. The people have always been nice to me, I just love everything about England.”

And the reason that Paszek treats the AEGON International virtually like a home tournament is because she stays during the week-long event with her Godparents in Eastbourne, who helped prove the inspiration for last year’s incredible run – that included saving match points in the final against German Angelique Kerber.

Paszek added: “This tournament in Eastbourne is really, really important for me. I’m going back as defending champ and then on to Wimbledon, which is one of my favourite tournaments – it’s going to be a great couple of weeks.”

The popular 2012 Eastbourne winner followed up her shock success on grass by reaching her second Wimbledon quarter-final on the bounce, dispatching of ex-world no1 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark en route.

But the odds are hughly stacked against Paszek from retaining her crown, and she will have her work cut out as she won’t be seeded as six of the current world’s top 10 are set to compete.

Radwanska’s role as leading lady

2013 AEGON International, Agnieszka Radwanska, Alize Cornet, Ana Ivanovic, Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki, Ekaterina Makarova, Elena Baltacha, Elena Vesnina, Johanna Konta, Klara Zakopalova, Laura Robson, Li Na, Lucie Safarova, Maria Kirilenko, Marion Bartoli, Nadia Petrova, Petra Kvitova, Players, Roberta Vinci, Sara Errani, Seeds, Sloane Stephens, Sorana Cirstea, Su-Wei Hsieh, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Tamira Paszek, Varvara Lepchenko, Yanina Wickmayer, Yaroslava Shvedova

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

2013 entrants and seeds

Sara ErraniSara Errani, who brilliantly battled her way to the semi-finals at Roland Garros, misses Eastbourne with a late withdrawal.
The exciting Italian is suffering from both a foot injury and an abductor strain.
But her loss has elevated Aussie ace Sam Stosur to provisionally become a seeded player, although that is dependent following her shock exit at the 2013 French Open.
Russian regular Nadia Petrova and France’s Marion Bartoli are battling it out with Stosur to take the final no8 seeding.
Stosur, who only made late applications for wildcard entries at both Birmingham and Eastbourne grass court court events, will be among the players expected to progress during the week-long tournament.
With Li Na also granted a wildcard entry following a poor performance at the 2013 French Open, then the Chinese no1 has stepped into the shoes of Errani to take over as no2 seed. Li will be extremely eager to kick start her grass court season with progress at Devonshire Park.
Two former Eastbourne champions, top seed Agnieszka Radwanska and Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki will provide stiff opposition on their favourite surface.
Angelique Kerber fluffed five match points in the 2012 AEGON International final to Austrian ace Tamira Paszek, so the German star will be determined to go one step better having learnt from her mistakes.
Former Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova as never had much luck at Eastbourne, and the Czech Republic ace will be keen to put that record straight ahead of SW19.
Maria Kirilenko and Serbian star Ana Ivanovic will bring glamour to the courts as well as their amazing array of tennis weapons, although the Russian is unlikely to make much impact in a tough draw.
Seeds are:

  1. Agnieszka RADWANSKA
  2. LI Na
  3. Angelique KERBER
  4. Petra KVITOVA
  5. Caroline WOZNIACKI
  6. Maria KIRILENKO
  7. Ana IVANOVIC
  8. Nadia PETROVA

Wozniacki’s chance to shine

Caroline Wozniacki, News, Players

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

woz and roryCaroline Wozniacki, the former Eastbourne champion and an ex-world no1, is facing a slump in her career after a 2nd Round exit at the 2013 French Open.

And her romantic interests off the court with Irish professional Rory McIlroy, who surprisingly finished outside the top 50 in a recent tournament, seems to be going hand-on-hand with her career nosedive.

The once great Dane has not made the 3rd Round in any WTA tournaments since April, and reached just two semi-final slots so far in 2013 going into the grass court season.

Wozniacki was crowned champion in three tournaments over a five month period prior to dating her beau in July 2011. Yet the 22-year-old has only won three events since they became an item.

She was considered one of the best players on the circuit in 2011 and a potential Grand Slam champion, but the following year she axed her father from his coaching role but then made a U-turn.

World no2 McIlroy, following their 18-month dating ‘honeymoon’ phase, is starting to stutter – having missed three cuts since November 2012 and ahead of the US Open the affable 24-year-old is not considered to be in the hunt for honours.

McIlroy’s recent putting skills have been atrocious, with the Ulsterman ranked no100 on the Professsion Golfers Association Tour in strokes gained putting.

And during The Players Championship, McIlroy was quizzed during his opening round by fellow pro Steve Stricker about his girlfriend. Stricker admitted: “I don’t care about Rory, I was asking about Caroline, I was asking a bunch of questions about her.”

Whether Wozniacki has the all-round game to bounce back on grass, her favourite surface, is an intriguing proposition. She has failed to live up to the hype surrounding her ever since romance meant she took her eye off the ball, and the 2013 AEGON International at Eastbourne is her first chance to prove the doubters wrong.

Robson opts to be a Brit special

Caroline Wozniacki, Laura Robson, News, Players

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

Laura RobsonLaura Robson, the former Junior Wimbledon champion when aged 14, has hired Andy Murray’s former coach Miles Maclagan initally for the grass court season.

The 19-year-old, who parted from Croatian coach Zeliko Krajan last month, has a game that suits grass but is desperate to rise through the WTA Tour rankings this year.

She aims to soar through the world rankings if she can gain positive results at the two Wimbledon warm-up tournaments at Birmingham and Eastbourne before tackling SW19.

The world no37 is aware that Maclagan, a ex-Great Britain Davis Cup player, could become a permanent fixture but the grass court events are a trial run.

Maclagan coached fellow Scot Murray to his maiden Grand Slam final, the 2008 US Open in 2008, but the pair parted ways in 2010 following a highly successful 30 month partnership.

Maclagan explained: “Laura clearly has the mind for the big stadiums and to take on the big players. It’s a key ingredient in anyone who’s going to play well.

“To see a young player with a lot of firepower and the ability to take on the top players is exciting. We’re going to start out for a little period over the grass to see how things go.

“There’s a lot I need to learn about the women’s WTA Tour, but Laura isn’t someone that I’ve studied. I have watched her just in passing rather than studied her, so there is a lot about her game that I need to know.

“One thing I have learnt is that what we see from the outside is so often not the case. I’m pretty chilled, but if practice isn’t of a quality or standards aren’t there then I’m not so chilled!”

Robson has had an extremely disappointing season going into the grass court season, with seven 1st Round defeats, including a poor showing against former Eastbourne champion and ex-world no1 Caroline Wozniacki at the 2013 French Open.