Laura Robson has confirmed that she will not play the Australian Open. The 21-year-old Brit, who reached a career-high ranking of No. 27 in 2013 but is currently No. 553, has decided not to use her protected ranking at the Grand Slam tournament, keeping it instead for the French Open.
“There was a protected ranking decision,” said Robson, who attended the ‘Maria Sharapova & Friends’ event at UCLA last week. “I would have loved to play [the Australian Open] and obviously want to be there and just as everyone else does, and it’s my favorite to start the year, but I get two Slams, my protected ranking, and one was [at] the US Open. I figure that I would play behind me as many as possible, and playing in Paris."
It is somewhat surprising that Robson has decided not to return in Australia, given that she is relatively healthy and has traditionally played better on the hard courts, rather than on clay. In 2013, Robson upset Petra Kvitova in the second round of the Australian Open and also reached the fourth round at Wimbledon.
"I could ask for a wild card [at the Australian Open], but at this point, its better to play the [Challengers] 25s and 50s and play as many as possible and get my ranking up to where I can be in the tournaments by myself and not ask for wild cards and protected rankings," she said.
"It’s very difficult to set up the schedule where you will know where you will be and the wild cards. That's why I have decided not to play Australia. To save me some stress later on.”
Robson, who was out for 17 months due to wrist surgery, returned last summer on grass, but stopped playing in September with her right wrist still sore. She has been hitting for the past month in Florida and says she is feeling much better. She will play Challenger events in February and will have eight protected rankings until the grass-court stretch. She said that she can’t play both Indian Wells and Miami.
“I am very happy with progress I made,” she said. “After the U.S. Open the wrist happened again, not in a serious way, just a little scar tissue, it wasn't really healing. I just had a bit of fluid that was coming and going, but I started hitting again. I wanted to get taken care of. I would have loved to play a few more tournaments at the end of the year but I didn’t want to rush again.”