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Laura Robson has revealed her anguish at enduring another injury lay-off but is optimistic her stuttering comeback will kick into gear in 2016.
The former British number one returned to action in the summer after a year and a half out following wrist surgery but played only eight tournaments before being forced onto the sidelines again.
She has not played a tournament since mid-September after problems in her left wrist resurfaced and she opted to bring an early end to her season.
Robson told WTA Insider: " The hardest part was from a couple of weeks before the US Open when I started feeling pain again. That really sucked.
"It was pain where it was going on and off, and on and off, and I didn't know what it was and I didn't tell anyone about it for a while because I didn't want to go through that whole process again.
"So after New York when it was more on than off I went and saw my surgeon again and fixed it all up. But it was a tough few weeks there. Being in the brace again was just awful.
"It's definitely been a long process. When everyone else says, 'Oh, I've been injured'. I'm like, 'No, I think I have you there'.
"It's been a long process and it's still not over. I have a ranking again, which is nice. But still a lot of work to put in. It's going to be a long way back. But if I didn't want to do it I would have quit a long time ago."
Robson, who is based in Florida, was back on court at the weekend playing in Maria Sharapova's charity event and is pleased with her level of form and fitness.
"I'm very happy with the progress that's been made," she said.
"I would have loved to have played another couple of tournaments at the end of the year but I didn't want to rush into it again and I didn't want to come back and take six weeks off and so on.
"So we decided to just shut it down and get the proper rest and proper rehab and I started hitting again just over a month ago. So I've been in Florida for a good while already, hitting a lot, hitting full."
Although Robson is healthy, she has decided against playing at the Australian Open next month and instead aims to return at low-key events, probably in February.
A target for returning to the main tour is Indian Wells in March, one of the biggest WTA tournaments.
The 21-year-old admitted not playing in Melbourne was a tough decision but, having used her protected ranking of 58 at the US Open, she only has the option of using it at one more grand slam, and intends to save it for the French Open.
Robson, who is currently ranked 553rd, said: " I would have loved to have played. I obviously wanted to be there just as everyone else does. It's my favourite place to start the year off.
"I get two slams with my protected (ranking). One I used in New York. I figured I'd get as many matches behind me as possible and use the second one in Paris.
"I could have asked for a wild card but, at this point, I think it's better for me to g et as many matches as I can in, get my ranking up to where I can get into tournaments by myself and not worry about asking for wild cards and using my protected.
"I think I have seven tournaments left including one slam, so there's plenty of time."
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