Australian-born Briton Laura Robson has undergone a third hip operation and has acknowledged the possibility it could mark the end of her once richly-promising tennis career.
The former Wimbledon junior champion, who was once seen as the great hope of British women’s tennis, announced the latest setback to her hopes of a comeback on her 27th birthday on Thursday.
“For my birthday this year I got crutches,” wrote Robson on Instagram.
“Sadly I had to undergo a third operation on my hip last week. I was desperate to carry on with training but was in so much pain that surgery was unavoidable.
“Following the advice of the surgeon and other doctors, a decision has been made to prioritise the long term health of my hip.
“Where that leaves me with tennis I’m really not sure, it will depend on how things heal in the next few months.
“More than anything my goal is to have a happy, pain free life. This whole process has been incredibly mentally draining and I’m so grateful to the physios/family/friends that have been there to guide me through it (socially distanced of course).”
Melbourne-born Robson, whose family relocated to Singapore when she was 18 months old and then on to the UK when she was six, was a prodigious junior talent and tipped for the very top after winning the Wimbledon girls’ title at the age of just 14.
But though she became British No.1, injuries consistently interrupted her progress and she first underwent hip surgery in July 2018, returning to the match court in the spring of 2019 only for the pain to remain.
The high point of her career was winning a silver medal in mixed doubles alongside Andy Murray at the London Olympics in 2012 before reaching her highest ranking of 27 the following year while still a teenager.
But serious wrist problems surfaced at the end of 2013 and she has never been the same player since.
Sadly, it now appears she may go down as one of the great unfulfilled tennis talents.