Q & A with 2009 Junior US Open champion Heather Watson

For more information on Heather Watson visit www.imgacademies.com/heather-watson/.

IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy student Heather Watson

IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy student Heather Watson

By now, you probably know Heather Watson as the U.S. Open Junior girls’ champion.

But how much do you really know about the 17-year-old IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy student originally from the tiny island of Guernsey, just south of the United Kingdom?

IMG Academies reporter, Dan Tierney, got Watson to shine a little more light on herself in her own words.

Heather Watson on…

…her native island: Guernsey is only 9-by-12 mile, but it’s densely populated with about 60,000 people. Everyone knows each other. Everyone knows the gossip. People have been so supportive of me. My dad’s there and we still have a house. It’s most known for the Guernsey cow and milk. It produces a special kind of milk that’s quite rare and everyone likes the taste of it. I love it. I drink milk all the time. I can’t get that milk here, so I just get some regular 2% milk from the grocery store.

…her pre-tournament confidence level: I knew I had the ability to win, but I wasn’t reaching my potential. I didn’t have that much confidence going into it. After the first match, it just got me going. The two indoor matches were the best for me. I felt like I was just breaking down my opponents.

…her championship celebration: When she missed the last ball, I didn’t realize right away that I had won the tournament. I went up shook her hand, put my racket down and did the waving thing around the court. Before my match, I was thinking about what I would do if I won. Should I kiss the court? Fall to my knees and start crying? But I was just in the moment.

…how her life has changed since the U.S. Open: There’s just been so much attention all at once. I’ve done media for about three days straight. As soon as my match finished, I did three interviews on the court, then did a photo shoot for about an hour. I’ve had so many friend requests and about 200 or 300 wall posts on Facebook. I had about 20 text messages. I got my first piece of fan mail. Someone from America sent me two photos of myself with a pen in the envelope and asked me to sign. Of course, I signed it.

…making Rafael Nadal wait to do a post-match interview: It was after my championship match. I had no idea he was waiting behind me. I went on a bit too long, I guess. It was after his Del Potro match. While I was doing an interview, he walked past me, and I’m like, “There’s Rafael Nadal!” After I was done, their media guy told me that Rafa’s interview was delayed because of me. That made me feel special. I got to watch him play foosball earlier in the tournament in the player’s lounge. I didn’t say hello. I was too shy.

…spending five years at the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy: I think I’ve really developed and matured, but most of all I’ve learned how to play specific points. And my fitness level is always high for tournaments. I’ve even learned lots of words from other languages. One of my best friends is from Korea and another is from California. There’s so much competition, and everyone here is an athlete, so we know what we’re all going through and help each other out.

…Nick Bollettieri: He’s got a voice that you’ll never forget. His speeches are very inspirational. He’s very good at spotting what you’re doing wrong and understands the tennis game really well.

…her dream doubles match: I’d like to play with one of the Bryan brothers. Maybe the left-handed one. I’d like to play against, umm, probably not Serena. I’d be too scared. Maybe play against Venus and the other Bryan brother.

…her New York City experience and dream celebrity meetings: I saw Gwen Stefani. She even talked to me. Well, she said, “Excuse me.”  It was after my match. I was going to get my bags, and she was standing right there. I really want to meet Chris Brown. I think he’s so hot, and I love his music. Oh, and Pink. I think Pink is the coolest person ever, and she’s got one of the best voices in the world. I’ve got to add Usain Bolt. He’s a legend. He makes it look so easy. I know his whole race routine by heart.

…what she’d be doing right now if she never played tennis: I’d be playing some sort of sport, or I’d be making something, because I love art. At 12, I decided tennis is what I love. Before that, I’d sing in the shower, but I knew that would never happen. I used to be a ballerina and a tap dancer when I was 5 or 6. I really enjoyed it. It’s probably helped my tennis a little bit, too.

…comparisons to Martina Hingis: I think in the female game, I am most like her. My footwork and how I move is definitely my strength. I’m very fast and get to a lot of balls. I use my opponent’s power, but I can play offensive and attack more, like I did indoors at the U.S. Open.

For more information on Heather Watson visit www.imgacademies.com/heather-watson/.

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~ by Nick's Picks on September 16, 2009.

One Response to “Q & A with 2009 Junior US Open champion Heather Watson”

  1. Hey Nick…great having you as a representative for a sport that you have clear passion for as do I…congrats on your nomination to the tennis hall of fame! I see you were originally from Pelham NY…I was originally from New Rochelle and now reside in nearby Scarsdale…if you ever come around these parts,I would gladly take you to lunch…take care Michael…

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