Heather Watson: British number two thought about stopping tennis during title drought

March 6, 2020
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    Heather Watson kisses the Mexican Open trophy

    Heather Watson lifts the Mexican Open trophy after beating Leylah Fernandez in the final

    Britain’s Heather Watson says she thought about quitting tennis before ending her four-year title drought.

    Watson had been outside the world’s top 100 at the start of 2020 but is now ranked 49th after beating Leylah Fernandez to win the Mexican Open.

    It was the 27-year-old’s first WTA title since the Monterrey Open in 2016.

    Watson said: “I thought I wasn’t doing good enough, nor getting the satisfaction or results, so why continue to suffer through it?”

    Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live’s The Inside Track, the British number two added: “I was pretty low. I was thinking of stopping tennis. You have those thoughts and I wasn’t serious about it.”

    Watson says the key to her success in Mexico was finding the right balance on and off the court.

    “I am loving life right now,” she said.

    “In the long run, I need to be happy off the court to be successful on the court.

    “I felt like I had nothing to lose going into the tournament. On and off the court I felt good, I was in a really calm state of mind.

    “I was going into the competition just enjoying it, being healthy – and as the tournament went on I thought: ‘Oh this is nice.’

    “I’ve been loving [tennis] these past eight months. When I got to the final I did put a bit of pressure on myself. I have been so consistent; more consistent then I have been in my career.”

    Watson is targeting a third Olympic appearance at the Tokyo Games this summer and also making the second week of a Grand Slam, having never previously gone beyond the third round.

    “I have been very open that my number one goal is to be in the Olympics again,” said Watson, who reached a career-high 38th in the world rankings in January 2015.

    “My goal every year is to win WTA titles. I have one now, so the goal is to get another one and I want to make it into at least the fourth round of a Grand Slam.”

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