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Watson hitting form just in time for grass courts of SW19


By Paul Newman

Wimbledon could not have come soon enough for Heather Watson. Not much has gone right for the 25-year-old from Guernsey since the joyous day 12 months when she won the mixed doubles title at the All England Club, but the return to grass has already lifted her spirits.

Until last week's Aegon International at Eastbourne Watson had put successive tour-level wins together only once in the previous 15 months, but the seaside air was clearly to her liking. Watson beat four higher-ranked opponents at Devonshire Park, including the world No 9, Dominika Cibulkova, before losing in three tight sets to Caroline Wozniacki in the semi-finals.

Watson has enjoyed being back on the main tour in recent weeks, even if she has needed wild cards to be there. Her fall in the world rankings - she went into Wimbledon last summer as the world No 55 but is now No 102 - meant that earlier this year she had to go back to playing at some of the sport's more obscure outposts.

"It was very different," Watson said. "Your feet get put back on the ground."

After parting company with Diego Veronelli, Watson tried a number of coaches without finding an arrangement that suited her. However, she appears to have turned a corner since she started working with Morgan Phillips and Colin Beecher, who are part of the Junior Tennis Coaching programme at Chiswick in London.

Watson, who will also continue to train at the IMG Academy in Florida where she has been since she was 12, said: "I'd not had a coach for ages and I was feeling a bit lost. I tried a few and it just hadn't worked out. I just felt a bit aimless on the practice court.

"But at the start of the clay-court season I started working with Morgan Phillips and Colin Beecher and I already feel back on track.

"I feel like I have my goals, my aims every practice.

"I've just been waiting for the results to happen because I am really happy with my game at the moment."

Belfast Telegraph


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