Nathan Robertson will attempt to win Olympic gold in 2012 with a new mixed doubles partner after announcing a successor to Gail Emms.
Emms retired after the Beijing Games and Robertson will now try to recreate the same on-court chemistry with Jenny Wallwork, a 21-year-old from Bolton, in a bid to win the one medal eluding the 31-year-old.
He said: “It is the end of an era but now it is just a fresh challenge and there is so much to look forward to with Jenny. There are four major tournaments in the next four years and that will end with London 2012 and I definitely want to be part of that.”
Robertson, who won the World, Commonwealth, All-England and European mixed doubles with Emms, to go with Olympic silver at Athens in 2004, made his decision after playing several practice matches with Wallwork and believes that the two have similar attributes.
“I want to create that same bond with Jenny as I did with Gail,” said Robertson. “I think that definitely will happen but it’s not something that will happen instantly.
“She is a very aggressive player and has had a very successful junior career. At my age I don’t think I will be looking to change my style a lot so in that respect we should suit each other.”
Wallwork, who first represented England aged 12, admitted that it was a dream pairing with London 2012 in mind. She said: “I have only know for the last few weeks and since then I have been really looking forward to starting out. It is a massive opportunity and will be hard work as we Look to progress together as a pair.”
She added: “It is everyone’s dream to play at the Olympics and I just really hope we get there.
Robertson’s previous partner also believes Wallwork’s “feisty” nature will work in the new pair’s favour. Emms said: “Jenny is a great girl and I think she will go far because of her winning mentality.”
Asked what advice she could give to Wallwork and Emms’ experience left her in no doubt that it was “not to let him think that he is the boss”.
“She is not going to let Nathan off the hook and she will definitely nag him when he needs it. It is a 50-50 thing: Jenny has to hold her own and she has to prove to everyone that she is here to stay and that she deserves this.”
Robertson always knew that Emms was retiring after Beijing and the pair had previously talked of options for future partners.
“We joked that he was going to trade me in for a younger model, but we always knew that Jenny was going to be one of his options.”