Top Canadian junior Charlotte Robillard-Millette stumbles, but survives her Wimbledon debut

The Quebec teenager was successful in her Wimbledon junior debut. (Stephanie Myles/

WIMBLEDON – Top Canadian junior Charlotte Robillard-Millette was no different than most tennis players in that she was really looking forward to her first Wimbledon experience.

She spent a lot of it on her derrière.

But the 16-year-old from Blainville, Que/ got up, dusted herself off and despite being just two points away from going out in the first round of the girls’ singles, managed to pull off a 6-3, 4-6, 9-7 victory over the far more grass-experienced Naiktha Bains of Australia.

Here's what it looked like:

At 17, this was Bains’ fourth trip to junior Wimbledon (and the warmup event at Roehampton that precedes it). This was Robillard-Millette’s first.

“I’m slipping a lot, always falling down. I don’t know what the problem is. Obviously the shoes are different, so it’s a little bit weird at first to move side to side. I just have to get used to it,” said Robillard-Millette, who reached the third round last week at Roehampton in her first-ever grass-court event. “I think that I can improve some stuff, and I think I have the game style to be good on the grass, just need to be mentally more confident on it, and get a little more experience hitting on it.”

The Quebecer, who trains at the national centre in Montreal, was the last junior girl accepted into the main draw at the Australian Open in January. Since then, she’s grown in confidence, has posted some terrific wins and is currently the No. 7 junior in the world (she hit a high of No. 4 just before the French Open, where she lost in the third round to eventual champion Paula Badosa-Gibert of Spain).

Robillard-Millette tumbled – hard – in the second set Saturday, just before she was to serve to stay in the second set at 4-5.

“It hurt a lot. I went the other way, and all my weight went on my leg. It wasn’t really fun. The hip went inside, and I felt something in my butt, my groin. It happened also last week.

“Always on the ground,” she laughed.

Robillard-Millette took a hard fall late in the second set, but pulled it together for a three-set win. (Stephanie Myles/
Robillard-Millette took a hard fall late in the second set, but pulled it together for a three-set win. (Stephanie Myles/

Robillard-Millette called the trainer, who really couldn’t do much, but managed to loosen it up a little. Mostly, the teenager was reassured that everything was more or less okay.

But the timing was bad; it shook her up enough that her serve was broken, and suddenly Bains, who had been down a set and a break, won the second set.

Robillard-Millette had a break in the third set, gave it up, and at 4-5 in the set was down love-30, just two points away from defeat. But she dodged that bullet and the second time she served for the match, at 8-7, she closed it out.

“I knew that if I wanted to win I had to guts it out. I knew I would because that’s just the kind of player I am. I gave it all in the end; I was, like, ‘Screw it; let’s see how it goes,’ ” she said. “I could feel at the end that she was going down a little bit, so it pumped me up.”

Robillard-Millette had father François on hand – dressed appropriately, of course.

“So proper! He was like, ‘I’m at Wimbledon, I’ve got to be wearing all white,” she said.

Robillard-Millette was headed for the ice bath and the physio, knowing that with the adrenaline of the match, she wasn’t feeling too badly but as soon as that wore off, she’d be pretty banged up.

She’ll play Sofya Zhuk of Russia in the second round, who is nearly a year younger than Robillard-Millette but already ranked No. 21 in the juniors.

Robillard-Millette also is in the doubles, seeded No. 2 with American Usue Arconada.