Watson determined to outdo London 2012 memories after Wimbledon exit

History-maker Heather Watson is determined to outdo her memories of London 2012 when she competes at the Paris 2024 Olympics this summer, despite first-round singles defeat at Wimbledon.

Watson’s place at an historic fourth Olympics, the most for any female British tennis player, was confirmed as she stepped out on Court 18 for her tie against Belgian Greet Minnen.

The Guernsey native battled hard through a topsy-turvy first set in which Watson broke her opponent three times, was 4-1 down at one stage and eventually lost 7-5, before Minnen sealed victory by winning the second 6-4.

Watson will team up with Minnen in doubles action later this week in SW19 before she joins forces with British No.1 Katie Boulter in Paris in a few weeks’ time.

And the 32-year-old revealed she already has one eye on her landmark appearance in British colours in the French capital next month.

She said: “I’m so happy, this will be my fourth Olympic Games, it was a huge goal of mine this last year.

“It’s very special to share it with Katie and play doubles with her there, we get along super well.

“I’ll just lap it all up, take in the experience, so far nothing has beat London 2012, hopefully this is a good one.“

We played a couple times, once years ago on the grass, then just recently at Roland Garros, she’s such a good energy, lovely person to be around, and a good friend of mine.”

Watson’s SW19 campaign is not yet over, as she and Minnen turn from foes to friends on Wednesday for their doubles match with American pair Sofia Kenin and Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

It is approaching eight years since Watson doubled up with Henri Kontinen for mixed doubles glory at Wimbledon in 2016 and, at her 13th Championships, is determined to put her singles exit straight behind her.

She said: “Greet started the match very hot, she was playing super aggressive, she didn’t really allow me a chance to get in and get any rhythm.

“I felt like I really suffered on my serve today, usually it’s something I can really rely on and I get a few free points, especially on the grass.

“Even still I felt like I had my chances, especially in that first set.

“I love her (Minnen) as a doubles partner as well and I can’t wait to be on the same side of the court with her.

“I don’t think of the individual that I have to play but more the ball that they hit.

“I find it quite easy to separate it, I just wanted to play my tennis and compete, whoever that was against.”

For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA website

Image: Reuters via Beat Media Group subscription

Related Articles