One To Watch: Heather Watson

Updated: January 2, 2010

Heather Watson is a young talent with more than just potential. In the last few months Heather has won the Junior US Open, joined the pro circuit, and broken into the women’s top 600.

Heather WatsonThe Guernsey born player began her trade playing short tennis on the Channel Islands, winning both the Under 8 and Under 9 National Championships. A product of the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, Heather has naturally raised eyebrows, but winning the Junior US Open has built new anticipation around the young star.

Watson, the 11th seed, came from 3-1 down in the first set to win 6-4, 6-1 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The straight-sets win over Russia’s Yana Buchina was no surprise as Heather also reached the quarter-finals in this year’s Australian Open Juniors.

Building on her U.S title the young sensation has also notched impressive wins on the Aegon Pro Series. Currently ranked 554th in singles and 585th in doubles on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, the young 17-year-old will be itching to pick up points at the start of the new season in January.

Heather’s playing style has been likened to Martina Hingis; she has a high level of cunning and intelligence matched with good court sense. This is backed up with tremendous athleticism, amazing footwork and an intuitive strength for baseline bashing.

The right hander’s best surface is hard court, but being a British player she will inevitably have the task of tailoring her game for the home crowd at next year’s Wimbledon Championships. With a solid serve and willingness to fight for every point Heather sees herself as a ‘female Tsonga’.

Heather enjoys a healthy rivalry with fellow Brit Laura Robson who she recently overtook to become the highest ranked British junior. The players have a good relationship off court and there is talk of the two pairing up for a doubles partnership early next year.

Naturally, Watson has already attracted big sponsorship interest from the likes of Adidas, Head and Sporting Bet. 2010 will be an interesting challenge for the strong teen, her astute playing style and tough mentality will stand her in good stead to climb sufficient rankings in her first full year on the pro tour.

The Stats

Country: United Kingdom
Residence: Guernsey
Date of Birth: 19th May 1992
Height: 5ft 7in
Favourite Surface: Hard
Plays: Right Handed(double handed backhand)
Highest Ranking: 588 2 Nov 2009

Oliver Ewbank has worked as a professional tennis coach, as well as freelance sports journalist. He has also edited various online sports publications.


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7 Legacy Comments

  1. Alice

    January 3, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Anne Keothavong apart, the concept of a non white person from Britain playing pro tennis is an alien one.

    One wonders why it has taken Blighty so long. France has many black and mixed race players. But then France has three times more people playing tennis.. even though it has the same population as UK.

    Heather doesn’t fit the UK black underclass stereotype. I’ve heard her chat, she sounds fairly posh, and thoroughly charming. So her presence is refreshing and very welcome… especially when Laura Robson fever hits overkill lol.

  2. Marine

    January 3, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Well, good luck to her, no matter what class/accent/colour she has :-)

  3. Aaress Lawless

    January 3, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    Great article, Oliver! I look forward to watching Heather as she gets older and matures over the next year.

  4. Alice

    January 4, 2010 at 11:55 am

    I agree with you 100% Marine. Class or color should never be an issue in anything!

  5. Pingback: Heather Watson named 2010 “One to Watch” « IMGA

  6. brian traynor

    January 5, 2010 at 11:58 am

    As a Brit living in U.S. it is great to hear a british tennis player being noticed by the Press.I do nt care if she is green, I applaud her beating all odds in raising to the top, and I wish her the best of very thing. We need her !

  7. Kevin Pondikou

    May 5, 2010 at 12:36 am

    Heathers mom is from Papua New Guinea, so its good to have a winner of the US open!