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Heather Watson

tennis player
Full name: Heather Miriam Watson
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Bio Heather Miriam Watson is a Guernsey-born British professional tennis player and former British No. 1. She has won nine titles over her career, including the mixed-doubles title at the 2016 Wimbledon Championships with Henri Kontinen, which made her the first British woman to win a Grand Slam title since Jo Durie in 1991, and the first to win a Wimbledon title since Durie in 1987. In October 2012, Watson won her first WTA singles title at the Japan Open, becoming the first British woman to win a WTA singles title since Sara Gomer in 1988.

In her junior career, Watson won the US Open and gold at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games. She reached No. 3 in the world on the ITF Junior Circuit.

Heather Watson was born in Guernsey to Michelle and Ian Watson. Her mother is from Papua New Guinea, and her father is British, the managing director of Guernsey Electricity from 1995 until retirement in 2010. She has one brother and two sisters. Heather Watson started playing tennis at the age of seven, and at age twelve, she went to the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida.

In 2006, Watson won the British Under-14 Championship. The following year she won the British Under-16 Championship and reached the semifinals of the British Under-18 Championship. She lost in the Under-18 semifinals again in 2008 to eventual winner Tara Moore. In October, Watson travelled to Pune in India to compete at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games. There she won the gold medal, winning the final against Kyra Shroff. Mother Michelle left her job in 2008 to travel full-time with her daughter around the World Junior Circuit.

Watson played her first senior tournament in March 2009 – the $25k Jersey Open, but lost in the second round to Katie O'Brien. At the beginning of July, she became the highest-ranked British junior, overtaking Laura Robson. She achieved her first senior women's world ranking on July 27, 2009, entering at No. 756. She won her first senior title at the Frinton $10k tournament. Watson beat Anna Fitzpatrick in the final. At the 2009 US Open, Watson was seeded 11th for the girls' singles. She reached the quarterfinals on 10 September before rain interrupted the tournament schedule. The tournament moved indoors, and Watson beat second seed Noppawan Lertcheewakarn in the quarterfinal on September 12. She played her semifinal on the same day and was victorious against Daria Gavrilova to reach the final, where she faced doubles partner Yana Buchina. Playing on court 7, Watson won in straight sets.

At 2009 French Open Watson and her partner were the third seeds and reached the girls' doubles final where she and Tímea Babos faced the second-seeded pair of Noppawan Lertcheewakarn and Elena Bogdan and were beaten in a match tie-break. Partnering Yana Buchina, that year they were the seventh seed at the Australian girls' doubles and sixth seed at the US Open girls' doubles, but they lost in the first round at both tournaments. At Wimbledon, she teamed up with Magda Linette, and they were seeded sixth in the girls' doubles but eliminated in the second round.

Watson is right-handed and plays with a two-handed backhand. Her game is often likened to that of Martina Hingis, and she has been praised by Nick Bollettieri for her "amazing footwork". Her on-court intelligence, court sense and timing have been other talking points about her game. According to Nigel Sears, head of women's coaching at the Lawn Tennis Association, Watson possesses "a complete game", with variety including a consistent one-handed backhand slice, volleys and angles. Her game has been described as similar to ATP player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga due to her "big serve" and athleticism.

Upon Watson reaching the 2011 French Open second round, Andy Murray commented "When I saw her for the first time, I thought she was good. I like the way she moves on the court. She's very balanced". Bollettieri stated that Watson's "game is based on great movement, but she's not afraid to whack the ball. She's not easy to beat. She has very good ground strokes, though she can over-hit and strike the ball a little too flat at times".
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