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Heather Watson first round

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Heather Watson meets the media following her 6-3, 6-2 victory over Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia. 

Q.  Must have been delighted with that because she was firing bombs the whole match.

HEATHER WATSON:  Yeah, it's a very tough match.  She's climbed the rankings very quickly after being out of tennis with mono glandular fever, as well, and it was tough.  She hits a hard ball, hard heavy ball, and has a big serve.

A lot of those games, I didn't even get close.  But the games I did I took advantage.

Q.  You have had such a good run recently.  How important was it for you to get a win at Wimbledon with everybody looking?

HEATHER WATSON:  I have had a good run, and coming to Wimbledon with confidence I really wanted to make the most of it.

So I was a bit nervous going on to court.  I struggled to eat before I go on, and actually my jaw was locking and I couldn't even bite through my banana.

But it was good.  Once I got on court, I got moving.  I made sure I moved my feet a lot in the warmup to get going, and as soon as we started playing, I got into it.

Q.  What causes that eating thing?  Is it like a tension that you get before?

HEATHER WATSON:  Yeah, it's just tension.  I always get nervous before I go on, sometimes more than others, this being one of them.  But it's becoming normal now, so I just get used to it.

Q.  You spoke in Eastbourne about the sleeplessness.  Has that been a problem this week?

HEATHER WATSON:  Yeah, I didn't sleep that great last night.  I woke up at 4:00 a.m.  I woke up and I was ready to go.  Looked at my clock, and I was like, Oh.  I actually managed to get back to sleep, which was good, and then woke up again at 7:00.  But my alarm was for 9:00.  I gave myself 11, 12 hours to sleep, just because I knew I'd probably wake up.

But, yeah, that's becoming normal.  It doesn't matter.

And actually, my fitness coach asked me how I slept.  I told her, and she said, Yeah, I'd actually be worried if you said you slept good.  I'd be like, What's wrong?

Q.  Are there other manifestations when you get nervous apart from your jaw locking and sleeping?

HEATHER WATSON:  Actually, that's never happened before, but the sleeping, the sleeping is normal.  More since I have been ill and come back.  My sleeping hasn't been quite normal after that.  But now it's just normal that I don't sleep well.

But, yeah, just that and eating, I struggle to eat.

Q.  Does it get easier when you get a win?  Do you sleep a bit easier the night after?

HEATHER WATSON:  Actually, I think it's worse in the first round.  You've just got to get going, and I think I'll be a lot better from now on.

Q.  I think you had a couple of breakpoints against you in the second game of the second set.  You fought very well.  Do you think that was a crucial game or did you feel you had the match in hand then?

HEATHER WATSON:  You know what?  I think on this surface, every game is so crucial, even if you're ahead a break it's so important to hold your serve.

I think today I just fought to hold my serve every single time, and she did have breakpoints even in the first game of the match.  And I think every game that I did hold was important.

Even if she did break back, you know, she could serve another great game with a few aces and it could just be back on level.

So I thought it was very important.

Q.  She blew Radwanska away in Paris.  Did you see she was walking back towards her chair, shaking her head?  Did you think you had broken her will?

HEATHER WATSON:  You know, I didn't notice that.  I should have paid attention.  I was just focused on myself and my game plan and what I had to do.  But I did notice once I held my serve at 2???1, she started spraying a few and making quite a few unforced errors.  But even so, I just wanted to keep focused and win every point and game that I could.

Q.  Laura was the nation's sweetheart when she made it into the second week last year.  Did you feel the love out there today?  This is a hometown girl.

HEATHER WATSON:  Absolutely.  I had a lot of support today.  The whole crowd.  I had a lot of friends as well that had come to watch.  And from the beginning when I walked onto the court and they said my name, the crowd was very positive and behind me the whole way.

I really enjoyed playing here today and on that court.  I do like that court a lot.

Q.  Kerber has just won, so that's who you're going to play next.  You had your first top-20 win in Eastbourne, so first top???10 win.  Is that in the cards, do you think?

HEATHER WATSON:  I definitely hope so.  I have never played Kerber before.  I have seen her play quite a lot actually.  She's got a very unique style, and, yeah, I look forward to it.  I'm not thinking about that right now.  I'm just going to relax for the rest of today.

Q.  Throughout your development, you have very much done your own thing.  Gone to Bollettieri's very young.  Looking at the three Brits who are definitely through to the next round, Andy similarly kind of done his own thing, Naomi done her own thing, do you think that's a coincidence that you have kind of been self-sufficient through your career and maybe not part of a wider system?

HEATHER WATSON:  I have been from Guernsey, I couldn't stay in Guernsey.  I had to get out.  So I tried looking at options in the UK, different ones.  And then even around Europe.  But when I went to visit Bollettieri, I knew that was the place for me.  I was very excited to go and wanted to go there.  And I think one of the main reasons was the weather was very good.  And also it was so competitive in not just tennis but all the sports.

So for me, I think I couldn't stay here, I don't think, because it just wasn't for me, and I think also the weather plays a big part.

Q.  How important is it for British tennis and British women's tennis in particular that it's not just Andy Murray going through to the second round of big tournaments like this?

HEATHER WATSON:  Yeah, actually I was talking to somebody earlier, and they were saying, Oh, there was five Brits, and I'm like, No, there's not, there is this, this, this, and Andy.  He goes, Oh, yeah, Andy.  Because Andy, he's always there on his own level high up.

Yeah, I think it's very important that we get more players up there really competing for titles and getting to the later rounds of Grand Slams and I think we're getting closer.

Q.  That tension that you talked about, does that go as soon as you start playing or start knocking up or does it take a little while?

HEATHER WATSON:  It differs.  Sometimes I can feel it through the first few games.  Sometimes as soon as I get out on court it's fine, and sometimes, you know, not till after the warmup.

Q.  What about today?

HEATHER WATSON:  Today, as soon as I walked on the court I was fine.

Q.  I just wondered, has the LTA ever asked you what they can do better to suit a player like yourself who has gone abroad, if there is, as part of that, an attempt to improve the whole development of British tennis?

HEATHER WATSON:  Well, I had the choice to train there or train in Florida.  I chose Florida.  But they supported my decision and supported me through it.

You know, I guess they could have easily left me be, but tennis being an expensive sport to be involved in, every little helps.

Q.  I just wondered if they had ever asked you why you chose Florida so they could learn perhaps what a young player wants?

HEATHER WATSON:  No, they didn't ask me.

Q.  Did you get the chance to sort of see any of Naomi yesterday, and how well do you know her?

HEATHER WATSON:  I'm very close with Naomi.  I have known her, she was probably the first tennis player I did know when I started playing, and our families are very close.  We're good friends, very good friends off the court.  I probably call her one of my best friends on the tennis circuit.

I didn't get to see too much.  I watched a few points, but I was just kind of focused on what I had to do for the day, see the physios, recovery for the next day.

I was so happy when I saw she won.  She really deserves it.

Q.  You've got a victory on the green grass of home under your belt.  Are you more convinced than ever now that grass is very suited to your new, aggressive approach?

HEATHER WATSON:  I actually - I have always liked grass, even when I wasn't trying to play it aggressive.

But now, honestly, I couldn't pick a favourite surface.  I like them all.  I like adapting my game to each surface.  I don't feel I play the same on all of them.  I feel when I play on clay I hit heavier, bigger margins.  When I play on grass, I go for more precise serves and try to come to the net more.

But I do really look forward to playing on grass.  I think one of those reasons is especially because it's at home.

 


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