LUXEMBOURG (AFP) — Laura Robson may have lost her debut match as a professional but French Open champion Ana Ivanovic had words of praise for the 14-year-old wild card.
Robson got off to a flying start at the WTA event here on Tuesday but eventually went down 6-1, 2-6, 3-6 to Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic, a veteran at 25 years of age.
The Melbourne-born, England-based Robson, whose parents are both Australian, hit the headlines in July when she won the junior Wimbledon title, raising hopes that the long drought in women's tennis in Britain could be at an end.
Ivanovic, who has met the young Briton twice in the last year, told BBC Sport that Robson could have a great future is she continued her improvement.
"I think she's great, she has so much potential and she's only 14 and hits the ball really, really hard," Ivanovic said.
"She won Wimbledon juniors and has also played against some WTA players before and is obviously getting more experience. I think she's definitely one to look for.
"I think she just needs to be determined and motivated to keep improving and not get satisfied with what she has, but I had a chance to meet her and she seems very professional for her age, very determined and a very nice girl, so I think she's going the right way."
Accepting a wildcard for the Luxembourg tournament after getting a first world ranking of 550 last week, Robson started well against Benesova, the world's 42nd ranking player, and pocketed the first set in fine style.
But she failed to maintain that level and the 25-year-old Czech took a firm grip on the match.
"I started really well and maybe the second set didn't go as well as I planned, but maybe she started to play a bit better," Robson said of her game. "It's a tough loss but I still think I played good."
She added: "Everybody has been so friendly on the tour and it's been a really good experience."
Robson, who entered the senior rankings for the first time at number 550 last week, was given a wild card into the event but will now return to the junior circuit.
She will also start her preparations for January's Australian Open, an event during which she will turn 15. Robson had played three events on the second tier of professional tennis prior to Luxembourg.
She made her debut on the International Tennis Federation's circuit in France in September, where she won her first match, and also competed in Shrewsbury and Barnstaple.
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