Heather Watson insists she is still on track to peak at the perfect time after her grass court season got underway with a disappointing defeat at the LTA’s Lexus Surbiton Trophy.
The Guernsey ace was beaten by Maddison Inglis 2-6 7-6 (3) 7-6 (6) despite being on the cusp of victory at the end of the second set.
Watson reached the fourth round of Wimbledon last year, the furthest she has ever gone at the centrepiece of the grass-court season.
And having created great memories at SW19 last summer, Watson says her early season defeat will not derail her ambitions of emulating her exploits in the capital next month.
“Those were such great memories, but I got zero benefits after it for the rest of the year, and I feel like I have actually been playing really good tennis,” said Watson, who is supported by the LTA’s Pro Access Programme.
“I just feel like this last year I have been fighting against the current, but I feel like my tennis has been there.
“I wouldn’t say that match was at the level I have been playing, but credit to my opponent as I thought she did a great job of fighting and finding a way back into it and then playing some great tennis at the end.
“Ultimately, that is where I want to play my best tennis, I’d rather play it there.”
Watson seemed sure to secure a spot in the last 16 but let her Australian opponent back into the second set and ultimately, the match.
The result means Inglis will now face former Wimbledon quarter-finalist Viktorija Golubic for a place in the quarter-finals.
And Watson rued a string of missed opportunities in the second set, adding: “In the second set, I definitely had my chances, but I felt like I was passive, and I hate playing like that.
“If I could go back, I would change that completely, that’s the one thing I would change.
“And in the third set, I was happy with how I fought, quite happy with how I played, and I had a lot of chances.
“But these things happen, and I am not going to look too deeply into it, I’ve been playing tennis for a long time.”
For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA website