Heather Watson believes her tennis mate Laura Robson will come back stronger for missing this year’s Wimbledon championship.
Robson pulled out of the All England Club fortnight after electing to have an operation in April to solve a recurring wrist injury.
The same injury also forced the 20-year-old to withdraw from August’s US Open earlier this week.
But Watson, who has overcome illness and a rib injury to play some of the best tennis of her career, is a firm believer that good players rise from adversity better for the experience.
She said: “Being away from court is tough and it is very difficult to get back to the levels you once were.
“I was out last year with glandular fever, but now I am back and, in a strange way, I am grateful for the time off.
“I am a very different person now. I have a different way of thinking. I am so much more motivated because I have had it taken away from me.”
She added: “Laura can and will come back, she has been injured before and she came back from that easily.
“I am sure she will be fine, despite the disappointment of missing Wimbledon.
“It’s the worst competition to miss because it is the one all tennis players look forward to.
“There is so much tradition there – the all-white kit, the royalty, the Pimms – it is the classic tournament.”
Robson is not the only Brit missing from this year’s championship after the former GB women’s number one Elena Baltacha lost her battle against cancer in May aged 30.
Conversely, Wimbledon’s own Ross Hutchins returns to SW19 after overcoming Hodgkin’s lymphoma last year.
Watson said: “The tennis tour community is very close. We see each other week in week out.
“So to lose Elena was not just devastating for the Brits, but everyone on the tour.
“To lose someone so young, it is hard to wrap your head around it. She was so fit and healthy.”
On good form: Heather Watson has returned from illness and injury to play some of the best tennis of her career
She added: “As for Rosco, it is unbelievable what he went through. I see him now and I do not even think about it, because he is here and healthy, but what he went through is incredible.”
Watson took time out of her busy schedule recently to take on a group of 16 children as part of a Give It Your Max charity tournament.
The action was part of the Merton-based charity's Heroes of Tomorrow initiative, which hopes to inspire young children to take up the sport.
Watson, an ambassador for Heroes of Tomorrow, said: "The work I have done with GIYM is amazing, the kids are always enthusiastic to learn and I hope they see me as a role model.
“There will be a particularly special atmosphere this year following Andy Murray’s victory last year.
“Hopefully I can continue my good form and give the kids from GIYM something to cheer about.”
Heather Watson was speaking at a Give it Your Max charity tournament as part of Statoil’s ‘Heroes of Tomorrow’ initiative, which supports young people in sport, education and culture.