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Robson's joy at wild card return

Nearly 18 months after she played her last match at a Grand Slam tournament, Laura Robson will return to the biggest stage of all next week.

Having completed her first comeback match on Saturday since undergoing wrist surgery more than a year ago, the former British No 1 yesterday received the news she had been hoping for when Wimbledon awarded her a wild card.

After repeatedly putting her return on hold, Robson finally made it on to court in the first qualifying round for this week's Aegon International at Eastbourne.

Although she was beaten 6-0, 6-1 in less than an hour by the world No 41, Russia's Daria Gavrilova, Robson was happy simply to have got through her first match since she lost in the first round of last year's Australian Open.

Robson, who has been out for so long that she does not even have a world ranking, knows she faces a long road ahead as she attempts to recover all the ground she has lost in the last year and a half, but at least she is happy that her wrist has healed.

Returning to Wimbledon, where she took the junior title in 2008, won her Olympic mixed doubles silver medal playing alongside Andy Murray in 2012 and reached the fourth round in 2013, should lift her spirits further. It is certainly a show of faith by the All England Club given her crushing defeat on Saturday.

"It's my home tournament and it's my favourite tournament of the year for sure," Robson said. "I've noticed every day as I've been playing points that [my wrist] has been getting better and better. It will continue to do so."

Asked where she would like to be in a year's time, Robson said: "I'd like to be back where I was before I was injured, if not better. I know I can if I put the work in - and I definitely will do that. We'll see how it goes over the next six months first and I'll try and play as many matches as I can."

She added: "As soon as I'm finished with the mini grass-court season that I'm doing I'm going to go back over to Florida to train and play a lot of smaller tournaments and kind of start progressing upwards again rather than playing big WTA events like this."

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