THERE was a last, almost embarrassed, wave as she walked off court.
But Laura Robson could not stop smiling.
She had, after all, just won the Girls’ Singles title at Wimbledon.
Those of us on Court One this afternoon can say we were there.
This was the day a Brit showed true grit.
The moment she held the trophy aloft.
It’s worth repeating, because it doesn’t happen very often.
We were there when a British player won a singles title on the green and pleasant lawns of the All England Club.
The last time was almost a quarter of a century ago in 1984.
That’s when Annabel Croft triumphed in the girls’ singles, the last British success in any of the singles competitions.
Wimbledon champion Laura, 14, arrived in the press conference room at 7.30pm.
That grin was still in place.
As was the refreshing attitude of a young girl who became a star at this year’s Championships.
“I hadn’t really thought about what I was going to do if I won, because it was so unexpected,” she beamed.
“But my brother was telling me – drop to your knees, start dancing, do something.
“But it was just on the spot and then I couldn’t think of anything to do.
“You kind of dream about it, and then you never really expect it to happen, so I’m still in a bit of a shock state.”
She had wanted to take Russian Marat Safin to the Champions’s Ball tomorrow night.
“He sent me a letter. I’ve memorised it. It says, ‘Sorry, I can’t come to the ball, but good luck for your final tomorrow.’
Then he signed it. It was really nice.
“I’m not sure who I’m going to take now that he’s out of the picture.
“A bit disappointing actually.”
What are her options? “I don’t know – anyone that will go with me.”
Although born in Melbourne, Laura moved to Singapore when she was 18 months because of her father Andrew’s job.
She came to Britain when she was six and now lives in Wimbledon.
So there were good humoured boos from the British press when an Australian journalist asked is she felt much of an Australian connection.
And equally loud cheers when Laura replied: “No.”
Told that her mum Kathy had said the family would be celebrating with a meal at Pizza Hut tonight, Laura replied: “We haven’t been to Pizza Hut in like years.
“That’s like a big occasion.”
Mind you, her mum also said her daughter would still have to empty the dishwasher – Wimbledon champion or not.
Britain’s Ann Jones, the 1969 ladies’ champion, presented Laura with the trophy on court immediately after her victory.
And the junior champion has just gone into the royal box on Centre Court to have it handed over to her all over again by the Duke of Kent.
The teenager was smiling as she walked out on to the biggest stage she has ever played on at 3.49pm
Even though, she revealed later, she felt sick when she saw the size of the crowd.
Laura was listed on the electronic scoreboard as Miss L. Robson.
It barely had room to accommodate her opponent, third seed Noppawan Lertcheewakarn, 16, of Thailand.
The first cry of: “Come on Laura,” came from the 11,000-strong crowd as she walked to the baseline for the first game.
There were to be many more.
As Henman Hill directly outside was turned into Robson Ridge, bright sunshine flooded the court.
A first set played in blustery conditions included Laura’s first ever Hawk-Eye challenge, along with another smile when it proved unsuccessful.
Some of the tennis was breathtaking, producing gasps from the crowd.
She clenched her fist in celebration after winning the first set 6-3 in 29 minutes.
Any doubts about Laura’s nationality were dispelled with a traditional British second set wobble.
Having broken the Thai girl’s serve in the very first game, Laura let out the first of several screams as the set slipped away.
At one stage she dropped her racket on the ground and kicked it across the baseline before Noppawan took the second set 6-3.
Then you remembered that, at 14, Laura was the same age as some of the ball girls on court.
But Laura has the game to get herself out of trouble and that moment of tennis history was not to be denied.
She served out the match at 5.33pm to win 6-3 3-6 6-1 in a final that lasted one hour and 34 minutes.
The cheers were deafening, and certainly louder than those on Centre Court for the all-Williams ladies’ singles final.
She’s now expected to receive a wild card into next year’s women’s singles tournament at Wimbledon.
There was another smile from Laura as she said: “You dream about that really, don’t you?”