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Laura Robson at the Australian Open: Emma Raducanu, Andy Murray, and working with Nick Kyrgios

Sky Sports tennis expert Laura Robson reports from Australia where she reflects on the performances of Emma Raducanu and Andy Murray at the Australian Open, and shares what it's like to work alongside Nick Kyrgios

Emma Raducanu of Britain celebrates after defeating Shelby Rogers of the U.S. in their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championships at Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024. (AP Photo/Louise Delmotte)

In her Sky Sports column, Laura Robson reflects on British singles performances at the Australian Open, looks ahead to the final stages, and reveals what it's like to work alongside Nick Kyrgios.

Along with enjoying the thrilling action on the court, I've had a very special week in Melbourne celebrating my 30th birthday.

I had the best day ever. I'm a big birthday person anyway, but I woke up that morning and it was like I didn't even need my coffee, I was just buzzing on the way to work.

I was given a bouquet of flowers and the gifts kept coming, I had bottles of champagne, but my Mum's kitchen now looks a bit like a florist.

I got a special video of some players wishing me a happy birthday on air and I'm going to keep that one, I think. The ones from Katie (Boulter), Cam (Norrie), Novak (Djokovic) and Andy (Murray) were particularly special. I felt quite emotional because I've known those people for so long and it's nice to have that in the memory bank.

Murray knows he can play a lot better

Sadly Andy wasn't around around for very long as he was knocked out in the first round by Tomas Martin Etcheverry.

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It was such a shame to see Andy play like that because even a few days before the tournament, I saw him on site with his team and they were having so much fun, playing cricket and doing all the right things.

Andy Murray of Britain reacts during his first round match against Tomas Martin Etcheverry of Argentina at the Australian Open tennis championships at Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Image: Andy Murray made a disappointing first-round exit

I think sometimes you build up so much in your head that by the time you get on court, you just feel a bit emotionally flat, which is what it seems like happened to him. The fact that he couldn't get the crowd going like he usually would is what he said he was most disappointed with after the match.

I feel like he knows he can play a lot better than that, which is probably the most frustrating thing. You look at how he played in Brisbane where he lost to Dimitrov, who ended up winning the tournament, it really was a great match and that's kind of how I thought he was going to play the first round here.

But he just couldn't quite find it, so fingers crossed he gets it back.

I know he's down to play in Montpellier. I'm not sure if he'll play in the end, but the good thing was the day after the match, he was on the practice courts at Melbourne Park striking a few balls before his flight home. Just the fact that he wanted to get out there was a really good sign.

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Andy Murray has been spending his time in Australia wisely, having learned how to complete a Rubik's Cube in rapid time

I know Andy has a date in mind or a tournament in mind that he wants to finish up his career, but I feel like he'll tell us when he's ready to say it and the fact that he hasn't yet means to me that he's maybe not 100 per cent sure of what he wants to do.

I feel like we've done the guessing game with just about every other top player who's almost on the way out, looking like they're about to retire and I'm kind of a bit over it because people will call it a day when they want to, rather than everyone asking them, week after week, when it's going to happen.

Raducanu showed real promise

Emma showed real promise as she beat Shelby Rogers in the first round. I think she's playing much more aggressively again, which is fantastic.

She played a really great match in Auckland, then it was great to see her back it up at a Grand Slam, even as she was edged out in three sets by Wang Yafan. She just needs time and matches, and I know she's entered Abu Dhabi and planning to play a full schedule. So, I feel like only good things are coming for Emma and even though she was sick on court, she competed really well. She was mentally very tough and those are the things that matter most.

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The best of the action from Emma Raducanu's match against Elina Svitolina at the ASB Classic in Auckland

She seems in a much happier place. She said that playing without pain was like having the backpack taken off, which is a really great point that I loved, because it really felt like that on the court as well.

She had a smile on her face. She was playing more aggressively and just not worrying so much about the result and enjoying the fans, just being in the moment a bit more, which is always a challenge in a tennis match.

Encouraging signs for Norrie and Draper

Cameron Norrie played amazingly. I was buzzing for him, because I think it's very easy on paper to say that he should play more aggressively, and he needs to come in more. But to actually do it in best of five situations against some of the best players in the world is another thing. So, for him to commit to working on that in the off-season, to bring it onto the match court and do everything right in the preparation for those matches, It just sets such a good example to some of the younger guys coming through.

Cameron Norrie beaten by Alexander Zverev in last 16 of 2024 Australian Open (Associated Press)
Image: Cameron Norrie reached the fourth round

But also for Cam for the rest of the year knowing he's got that level of tennis in him and that he really wasn't far off from beating Alexander Zverev in their five-set thriller. Playing 50-plus times at the net, it's amazing to see him do it and I think it's just all positive things for him to take.

Jack Draper arrived at the tournament coming off the back of a very quick turnaround where he made the final of Adelaide, which was on the Saturday and then played on the Tuesday. With the different court conditions, it was a very quick turnaround for him and was therefore great to see him come through one of those long matches in the first round.

He ended up losing to Tommy Paul in four, but he had set points in the fourth set, so it was close. There were a couple of things that he was disappointed that he didn't do in that match, like be a bit more aggressive with his forehand. So he really knows what style of game he should be playing out there. I think to just see him hold up physically over a couple of tough weeks, that's the main thing for Jack, just to keep that going.

A good trip down under for Boulter

Katie Boulter just had a really good trip over here because she had a couple of good matches at the United Cup, and a couple of good matches in Melbourne.

Katie Boulter in action against Zheng Qinwen during their second round match at the Australian Open
Image: Katie Boulter was knocked out by Australian Open finalist Zheng Qinwen

It almost always makes you feel a bit better when the person who knocks you out obviously ends up doing well in the tournament, which is exactly what Zheng Qinwen has done.

Katie didn't play her best against Zheng, but it was really windy conditions, it was very tricky and then their game styles didn't quite match up well for Katie because Qinwen's backhand is a lot sharper.

There are so many things she'll know for next time but overall, I think a really good trip and she's planning on playing next week already so she's getting straight back out there.

Big chance for Sinner against Djokovic?

The rivalry between Jannik Sinner and Novak Djokovic is different now that Sinner has the two wins against him from the end of last year. He might feel different going into the match and it could just give him a bit more confidence as the match goes on.

Beating Djokovic over best of five is a different ball game that he hasn't quite managed yet, but I feel like if it's ever going to happen, it's going to be here because Sinner has cruised through without dropping a set, playing as well as I've ever seen him.

Physically, he should be a lot fresher than Novak going into Friday. So, if not now, when?

'Exciting' Kyrgios has so much insight

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Nick Kyrgios marvelled at Carlos Alcaraz's skills as he commentated on the Spaniard's Australian Open match against Alexander Zverev. Sky TV subscribers get discovery+ Standard at no extra cost

It's so exciting working with Nick Kyrgios. He's been realising how long the days are on the TV side of things, which is always an eye opener. But he's got so much insight and so much to say about all the guys at the top of the game because he's played them all best of five, stuff that we would never pick up. So it's been really interesting.

There hasn't been any time for socialising! We're very happy if we leave the site any time before midnight. I think there's been one day where we finished at like 11:45pm with the night matches, so there's been zero time for dinners, zero time for anything.

He said to me that he's been training in the gym, so fingers crossed he'll be back on court soon. I think it's been mostly a knee injury that's very different than last year. So hopefully, that's cleared up, and we'll see him back. He's still so young that if he puts his mind to it, he could actually get back to the top of the game.

Laura Robson was speaking to Sky Sports' Raz Mirza from Melbourne. Watch the WTA and ATP Tours throughout 2024 on Sky Sports. Stream tennis and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership

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