Wimbledon Tennis 2013: Players Who Have Gained Key Experience This Summer
When you're a young player at Wimbledon, the venue and atmosphere inside can sometimes be overwhelming.
While that's certainly not always the case, winning that first match to get the ball rolling and set up a deep run into the second week is crucial for young players looking to take the next step in becoming contenders.
With The Championships set to reach their pinnacle this weekend, here, we'll take a closer look at a trio of players who have gained key experience in London this summer.
American star Sloane Stephens may have had a disappointing exit at Wimbledon, losing in the quarterfinals this July. But the experience she gained through five rounds of play at the All England Club will only make her a more feared player in the future.
A topflight athlete, Stephens has picked up some big victories this season, including a win over Serena Williams at the Australian Open back in January.
And although she didn't earn a career-defining win at Wimbledon this summer, there is something to be said for winning four matches (Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka combined to win just five) and playing deep into the second week of the women's draw.
Plus, this was just the 20-year-old's second career appearance in the Wimbledon main draw. She reached the third round here a year ago as a teenager, and now she's a quarterfinalist in her sophomore run.
With a powerful forehand at her disposal and key experienced gained, Stephens is sure to be contender at the All England Club for years to come.
Just 10 months younger than Sloane Stephens, British teenager Laura Robson also picked up some vital experience at the Wimbledon Championships this summer.
Robson burst onto the Grand Slam scene as an 18-year-old at the U.S. Open last summer, bouncing Kim Clijsters and Li Na to reach the round of 16 in Flushing Meadows. Less than a year later, Robson found herself in the round of 16 at her home Slam, via ESPN:
Laura Robson just became the first British woman to reach the Round of 16 at #Wimbledon in...15 years.— ESPN (@espn) June 29, 2013
Although she would lose to Kaia Kanepi in straight sets, the defeat certainly doesn't make Robson's run any less meaningful. After all, the big-serving teen did manage to knock off 10th-seeded Maria Kirilenko in the opening round.
Not only does this run boost Robson's confidence moving forward, but it provides her with experience that she can put to use the rest of the year.
Win or lose in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, Poland's Jerzy Janowicz has already earned much-needed experience at Wimbledon in 2013.
Which player will benefit most from the experience gained at Wimbledon?
The 22-year-old has taken advantage of some early upsets, reaching the men's quarterfinals of a major for the first time in his career. He reached the third round in his first main-draw appearance at the All England Club in 2012.
Although the 6'8" youngster hasn't taken out any big names en route to the last eight, he's impressed tennis fans with both his physical and mental strength to this point.
The Pole's serve has been a huge weapon for him on the fast-playing grass, and he's showed some guts, winning a five-set match against Jurgen Melzer in the fourth round. Regardless of how Janowicz's memorable run comes to an end this July, he'll be a much a more dangerous player at Wimbledon in the years to come because of it.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.
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