Heather Watson loves an inspirational quote, her Instagram feed is full of calls to seize the day, stay positive and believe in your dreams.
Difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations, says one – a sentiment that the 25-year-old British number two can certainly empathise with.
After a miserable year that has seen her slip outside the world’s top 100, Watson’s resurgence continued as she reached Wimbledon’s third round for the third time.
She didn’t waste a moment establishing control against 18th seed Anastasija Sevastova, taking the first set without dropping a game in just 19 minutes.
But three double faults handed the Latvian an early break in the second set before Watson rallied to secure a 6-0, 6-4 victory, setting up a clash with two-time semi-finalist Victoria Azarenka.
And she’s determined to be inspired not just by motivational words but the memories of her last appearance at this stage two years ago, when she was two points away from beating world number one Serena Williams.
“That’s still the best atmosphere I’ve ever played in and I hope this will be the same,” she said.
“I was getting goosebumps after every point and that’s what I remember most about the match, more than the loss, so it’s positive.
“I feel like my tennis is just really improving at the moment. I’m happy but I’m winning, so it’s hard not to be. It’s just about balancing the highs and lows, not making them too dramatic. I’m trying to be more level-headed.”
Watson was all smiles and jokes after her victory, extensively giving her views on Love Island and a bet with coach Morgan Phillips, who’ll shave his legs if she reaches Wimbledon’s second week for the first time.
“Making the second week of a Slam would be huge for me, it’s been one of my goals since forever,” she added.
“It’s easy to be motivated here for me but it’s not always this easy. When you are playing in a random country and nobody’s watching then it’s much tougher.
“There’s highs and lows to everything you do but, for me, the highs are really high right now.”
Watson isn’t just putting her return to form down to home comforts but her work with a new coaching team of Phillips and Colin Beecher.
“I have just been waiting for the results to happen,” she said.
“When I was younger, my coach would be the dominant one, telling me what to do. I’d just do it and listen but this is more give and take and it’s really working.
“I’m happy my new team and practices are going really well. I feel like I have structure and I’m enjoying it, which is the most important part. They make me want to work hard and I feel like my tennis is really getting somewhere.”
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