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Tennis
The Great British tennis resurgence
As Andy Murray becomes the first British male major winner in 76 years, the British women appear to be on the rise too.
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2012 13:49
Sara Gomer was the last Briton to win a WTA title in 1988 - but can Robson (pictured) end this at Guangzhou Open [AP]

British tennis has undergone some sort of resurgence in recent years.

Andy Murray has always been there or there abouts, and has finally won his first grand slam at the U.S. Open.

He joined the scene when Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski were in the twilight of their careers, but has surpassed both in terms of achievement.

An Olympic gold and the U.S. Open title has seen the Scot realise his potential, and he has the chance now to dominate the men’s game.

Yet Britain has been waiting for a new female star for quite a while.

Sam Smith, Jo Durie, Annabel Croft are all household names in the UK, but the '90s are now a long time ago.

Both Anne Keothavong and Elena Baltacha have done their country proud, both breaking top 50 quite late in their careers.

But on Friday, an 18-year-old did what no other Britain has for 22 years…

Laura Robson reached a WTA tour final.

She burst onto the scene in 2008, winning junior Wimbledon at just 14.

It has taken this long for her to live up to the massive expectation the nation has put on her.

A silver medal with Murray at the London Olympics was preceded by a first semi-final showing in Palermo, before she stunned two former grand slam champions at the U.S. Open.

She sent Kim Clijsters into retirement before beating ninth seed Li Na to reach round four of a grand slam for the first time.

     At 20, Heather Watson is another British player who is making a name for herself in tennis [AFP]

And in her first tournament since New York in China, she has repeated the feat of Jo Durie in Newport, 1990.

Naturally, the British press will go wild and will expect her to push on and win a major in the next few years.

But this is a distinct possibility.

A lot of credit should go to her friend Heather Watson, another young Brit firmly ensconced in the top 100.

The Guernsey resident has also had an impressive year, and sits just one place lower in the rankings than Robson.

To have two young, talented players is an unexpected bonus to British tennis, and it’s only natural that their support and rivalry will push them both to improve further.

The hope for the British is that Watson will be motivated to regain her British number one status.

And, therefore, bring Great Britain to the forefront of women’s tennis.

Just as Andy Murray did for the men after such a dry spell with the racket.

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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