Laura Robson will play in the Hobart International at the beginning of January after adding the tournament to her Australian Open preparations. The British number one will head to Tasmania a week after playing in Auckland in another warm-up event ahead of the first Grand Slam of the year.
Australia’s former US Open champion Sam Stosur should go into the event as the favourite with Betfair, but it won’t be easy for the veteran in a tough field which also includes top-20 player Kirsten Flipkens, who made the Wimbledon semi-finals earlier this year, and former world number one Venus Williams adding some real star power.
The Hobart event starts on January 5 with the Australian Open beginning eight days later, allowing a number of top players to finalise their preparations before heading to Melbourne for a tournament that Betfair have Serena Williams as the stand-out favourite.
It will be Robson’s second appearance in the Hobart International. The 19-year old suffered a first round loss in 2013 at the hands of Sloane Stephens, but the British youngster bounced back from that disappointment to go on and reach the third round in Melbourne soon after. And that performance in the Australian Open was key to Robson going on to reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon and the third round at the US Open.
Robson was seeded for the first time at a slam in Flushing Meadows but finished the season ranked 45th after disappointing results in Asia towards the end of the year. Robson has made changes to her coaching set-up, in a bid to take her career to the next level, hiring Nick Saviano following her decision to split from Miles Maclagan in October.