Maria Sharapova’s absence ‘makes no difference’ to British number two Heather Watson

British number two Heather Watson refused to be drawn over Maria Sharapova’s injury which ended the Russian’s grass court season before it started.

Sharapova, 30, retired during her second-round match at the Italian Open with a thigh injury and has since been ruled out until at least the end of July having returned to action earlier this year following a drugs ban.

Watson had previously been critical of the Russian’s swift return to the game, calling it too easy and morally wrong, but was unaware yet definitive on Sharapova’s situation.

She said: “I’m not really keeping up with it.

“I don’t really know anything, I don’t have an opinion, it doesn’t make any difference to me.”

Speaking after her 6-4 7-5 loss in the final of the Surbiton Trophy to Slovak Magdalena Raybarikova, Watson remained upbeat about her week despite a difficult day.

She said: “This is the first tournament I’ve been able to stay in my own bed so it’s been special for me.

“Hopefully my ranking is higher so I’ll be playing WTAs, maybe this will be a WTA next year, but if I’m in the same place next year, then I’ll definitely be back.”

Looking forward, Watson has confirmed she will be defending her mixed doubles title with Henri Kontinen at Wimbledon this year.

Watson said she’d spoken to Kontinen about their defence of the title they won when they beat Robert Farah and Anna-Lena Gronefeld 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 despite never having played together before the tournament.

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