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Tennis: Britain's Robson not worried by being home alone

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Laura Robson will be the only home player contesting the women's second round at Wimbledon but she claimed talk of an underachievement crisis in British tennis was taking it too far.

Robson, 19, the world number 38, knocked out Russian 10th seed Maria Kirilenko 6-3, 6-4 on Tuesday to join Andy Murray as the only British players to get through the first round.

All seven of Britain's wildcards fell at the first hurdle, while Heather Watson -- the only other Brit alongside Robson and Murray to make the main draw on merit -- also tumbled.

However, despite the backdrop of doom and gloom, Robson issued a stout defence of her compatriots.

"I think everyone had tough matches. Before this week, everyone was playing really well. So it's unfortunate that no one else made the second round," she said.

"But that happens sometimes. Last year I lost in the first round. So you go through stages of ups and downs like everyone else."

"We're playing week in, week out. Wimbledon is a massive tournament, so if you don't do well, then it's disappointing. But Bally (Elena Baltacha) won a Challenger a couple weeks ago, and she's been injured for the majority of the year. That was a great result for us. Everyone else is doing well."

Robson, who won the 2008 Wimbledon girls' title, now faces Colombian qualifier Mariana Duque-Marino in the next round.

"Any big win gives you loads of confidence so I'm going to go into the next match with a good focus," she said.

She also won the London 2012 Olympic mixed doubles silver medal with Murray at the All England Club.

Watson, the world number 56, lost 6-3, 7-5 to American teenager Madison Keys.

The Guernsey player is still working her way back to full match fitness after two months out with glandular fever.

She insisted the state of British women's tennis was on the up.

"We've got two players in the top 100. We've got Johanna Konta and Tara Moore coming up through the rankings. I feel like there's quite a bit of depth. It is coming up slowly, but it's getting there," she said.

Wildcards Baltacha, Konta, Moore, Samantha Murray and Anne Keothavong all fell in the women's draw.

World number two Andy Murray is the only home player left in the men's draw after wildcards James Ward and 18-year-old Kyle Edmund both tumbled.

The All England Club has been criticised over their long-standing policy of handing out wildcards to home-grown hopefuls -- who then barely win a match between them.

Following a shake-up in the prize pot distribution, Wimbledon first round losers now pocket £23,500 ($36,200, 27,700 euros), meaning, in the eyes of some, the tournament is simply handing out money for nothing to British losers.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130625/tennis-britains-robson-not-worried-being-home-alone