By Ros Satar, at Wimbledon

  • Heather Watson v Caty McNally [Q] | First meeting
  • Despite early listing as a wildcard, Watson earned her place in draw on own merit
WIMBLEDON, UK – Heather Watson did not need the initial wild-card to get into the main draw, where she hopes she can rise to the occasion.

 

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Heather Watson v Caty McNally [Q] | First meeting

It might not have been the most successful outings on grass for Heather Watson, but there was plenty for her to look ahead to, having taken the decision to drop down to the lower levels of the tour to get some confidence back on her game.

Watson will be hoping her time in Japan will be pivotal to an upswing in her fortunes.

She told Britwatch, at Eastbourne: “I couldn’t win a match, I literally could not win a match. I hadn’t won a match since January WTA in Hobart, so like going five months without a match was sort of playing in my head. I’ve never missed the clay court season before. I’d never gone anywhere else but Europe so taking a leap, going to Japan was big for me, especially when I bombed out first week. I mean I didn’t play badly, my opponent played too good. I was like ‘oh God’ but I took a risk and I won the next week and I really really needed that. It was extra special.”

Initially listed in the wild-card listings for Wimbledon, Watson ended up earning her spot in the main draw on her own merit. In fact between us we figured out that she had only really needed wild-cards when she was in her teens, in her first two appearances at Wimbledon.

She continued: “For me it’s really important that I get in on my own. I don’t know how I’m perceived out there but people don’t think I win any matches ever, and that I get a wildcard into Wimbledon every year. I’ve had so many messages, tweets – not from people I know – but random people like ‘Heather gets a wildcard every year’ and I’m like ‘do you know anything about tennis’

“So, for me it’s just really important to get on my own because I’ve been doing it year in year out for almost 10 years now. So yeah – for me it’s an important thing. And I know shouldn’t care what other people think but it just bothers me when I’ve earned my place myself – I always earn my place.”

She will face a player who has a fair bit of confidence – Caty McNally from the USA has come through qualifying and the 17-year-old certainly experienced made it deeper in the Surbiton ITF than Watson did, and has picked up a lot of grass on the base of her shoes.

She plays an attacking game, as can Watson, but the Brit can also defend well and is probably more adept at adjusting her game when she needs to.

However, a Watson match is nothing if not a roller-coaster, but if she can come through this, it will give her more of a boost than a trip to Japan.

She said: “I’m super fit. I was a little heavy in Australia and I’ve lost 5 kilos since then. That was also because the end of my last season i extended so I wasn’t fit going into Australia. I feel I’m in the best shape I’ve been in a long time, I’m striking the ball really well, I’m gaining that confidence in Japan.”

Watson and McNally are scheduled first on Court 12, at 11am BST.

 

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