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Heather Watson opened up on the struggles of the last couple of years that led to her outpouring of emotion on Wimbledon’s Court One.
The British number four broke down in tears during her on-court interview following a 6-7 (7) 7-5 6-2 win over Tamara Korpatsch in a match that was carried over from Monday night.
Watson, 30, revealed that a combination of her poor results and the coronavirus pandemic had left her feeling low, which made a red-letter day like this so special.
The win also allowed her to exorcise the Court One ghosts of last year when she squandered match points to lose to Kristie Ahn in the first round.
She said: “The last few years for me personally have been tough. I’ve had my ups and downs – mostly downs – like so many people have with the pandemic and stuff.
“I would just say the battles with that, the isolation. I’m such a people person, very outgoing person. Being with friends and family, being social, is what fulfils me in life.
— Heather Watson (@HeatherWatson92) June 28, 2022
“So, I guess I missed that. Then it was just impossible to find joy on the tennis court with no fans. Being able to play my first match on Court One was really special.
“But not just that, with my tennis as a whole. The person I am, I’m a fighter. Also for my game, I’m the type of player that needs to put in a lot of work to play good tennis, a lot of hours on the court, a lot of hours in the gym.
“Just not being happy with my ranking, the way I’m playing. I expect more of myself. I think tennis players as a whole always do. But I felt like the last few years I’ve been underachieving.
"These are the moments you dream of as a little girl"
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) June 28, 2022
“I think it was just a build-up of that, as well, just how much I’ve been putting in and not getting any reward. So, you know, after my match here last year on Court One, that was an all-time low for me.
“Coming back, I was so happy I could change the outcome and narrative this year.”