Heather Watson has always been a straight talker and she wasn’t about to stop after conquering the site of her lowest moment on a tennis court.
The 30-year-old from Guernsey took a long time to recover from last year’s first-round defeat to Kristie Ahn on No.1 Court, a match in which she held match points but could not convert.
Initially scheduled to play on No.3 Court, Watson was moved on Monday back to the court where she had suffered such heartache a year ago.
And when she went a set down to Tamara Korpatsch, struggling to find her best form, a repeat seemed on the cards.
Watson kept fighting and took it to a decider, with the players left to sleep on it as play came to a close.
It clearly worked for Watson, who took a rather more straightforward approach on her return on Tuesday and proceeded to cruise through the decider in a 6-7 (7) 7-5 6-2 victory.
She explained: “It was a battle yesterday. I felt quite tense out there. I wasn’t playing my best tennis. I was fighting as hard as I could. I managed to get hold of that second set. I was happy to keep myself alive at that point.
“Then today, the third set, I came in with a fresh outlook and was much happier with my tennis performance.
“Today I just thought, I’m just going to go out there and play. If I win, I win. If I lose, I lose. Not overthink either way, just play how I want to play and do the right things, whether it works or it doesn’t.
“After my match here last year on Court 1, that was an all-time low for me. Coming back, I was so happy I could change the outcome and narrative this year.
“It did stick with me for a long time, having match points at Wimbledon. I feel like I’ve always had such strong performances here, particularly at Wimbledon. And I love the grass. I feel like it was a really tough one for me to take.
“I was on a low for weeks after that. I really struggled. I’ve thought about it a lot since. But I have to say coming up to this match yesterday when we started, it wasn’t really in my head. I wasn’t thinking about that. I was purely just focusing on the task at hand.”
Having come through, Watson showed emotion on court, almost brought to tears when asked what it meant to win at Wimbledon.
Speaking openly as she has in the past, Watson put some of that emotion down to being on her period.
But equally, the last two years of the pandemic have hit her hard.
“It’s my period this week. I get emotional on my period,” she said, smiling.
“The last few years for me personally have been tough. I’ve had my ups and downs – mostly downs – like so many people have with the pandemic and stuff.
“I’m such a people person, a very outgoing person. Being with friends and family, being social, is what fulfils me in life.
“I guess I missed that. Then it was just impossible to find joy on the tennis court with no fans. Being able to play my first match on Court 1 was really special.”
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