Heather Watson on Wimbledon
Originally published on: 14/06/12 00:00
Heather Watson has reached the second round at the French Open for the last two years in succession. Now the 20-year-old from Guernsey is aiming to break her duck at her home Grand Slam tournament. Watson has played in the main draw at Wimbledon twice but has lost tough three-set matches on both occasions.
Two years ago she attempted to bridge a gap of 110 places in the world rankings but just fell short when she was beaten by Romina Oprandi, the world No 139. Last year’s defeat was particularly disappointing after Watson had taken charge against France’s Mathilde Johansson, the world No 70. Watson had won the first set and was ahead in the second when she injured an elbow. “It was really hard for me,” Watson said. “I’ve only been injured three times in my career. It really affected me. I thought: ‘Why is this happening to me?’ But injuries come with the game.
“I love Wimbledon and I think that was why it hurt me so much. It was at home and it was what I wanted to do. I wanted to do my best and to show the people who support me that I’m doing it for them as well. I wanted to show them that I can play and win these matches. I’ll be strong for this next one – and, touch wood, hopefully I’ll be injury-free.”
Watson has again proved her ability on grass at this week’s Aegon Classic at Edgbaston. She has adapted quickly from clay, on which she had another good season. For the second year in succession the former US Open junior champion came through qualifying at the French Open and won a match in the main draw. Having beaten Stephanie Foretz Gacon last year, this time she knocked out Elena Vesnina before losing to Julia Goerges.
“I love playing on grass, but grass and clay are completely different game styles,” Watson said. “You go from one extreme to the other. Grass is very short rallies. The harder hitters and the people who just like to smack winners normally do better. The clay courts are more a grinder type of surface. They suit players who make you play that extra ball and keep it in.”