After a summer full of dirty red clay and slick grass, every American is geared up to play the U.S. Open Summer Series.But Americans aren't the only ones excited to play on the hard courts. Britian's own Heather Watson is psyched to continue her recent success as she makes her way to New York City in August. The young Brit has made big leaps in the past couple months improving her ranking by almost one-hundred spots and she doesn't plan on stopping anytime soon.
Watson, the winner of the 2009 U.S. Open Junior Championships, made her first big splash on the WTA Tour this year at the Aegon Championships when she beat three highly ranked opponents to qualify for the main draw. In the main, she pushed her winning streak to four matches as she beat top-50 player Aleksandra Wozniak. When speaking to Heather about her experience there, she said, "It was incredible. It was just my fourth WTA Tour event and I was able to beat Pironkova who reached the Semfinals of Wimbledon and then Wozniak, my first top-50 win. It gave me a lot of confidence and I can't wait to play there again next year."
Another place im sure she will not forget is the $25,000 ITF Event held in Wales where she defeated Sania Mirza in the final. One of the biggest tournament wins in her pro career so far, I asked her what has changed in her game over the last six months. "I think I have just matured a lot and learned how to use the strengths in my game better. I have more confidence and have realized that I can compete with the best players in the world and that has helped a lot." A confident Watson is a scary thought as the summer tour switches to the hard courts!
Do you want to know more about Heather and her tennis career? Check below!
Q: Tennis is a sport where there is definitely a learning curve that takes place between the pro's and the juniors. Tell me about your own transition?
Heather: The transition from juniors to pros is not easy. In the juniors, you can get away with lapses in concentration and bad games. But in the pros, you have to be ready to go 100% from the first point. All the girls on Tour are so good and so solid and they want to win very badly. I have had to learn how to be more professional and more disciplined in everything I do.
Q:The U.S. Open Summer Series is in full swing and you are playing well. What are your major goals this summer?
Heather: I really like playing on hard courts so I have been looking forward to this part of the year. I also can't wait to get back to NY and to play in the U.S. Open. I have very good memories from there last year and it will feel good to get back. I will be playing Qualfying so I will have to earn my place in the Main Draw but I am going to fight for every point.
Q:What is your favorite part of training at IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL? And what benefits do you get from training at a place like IMG?
Heather: I came to train in Bradenton when I was twelve years old so it definitely feels like home. I love the people here and it is nice being around other tennis players and other athletes who are pushing themselves to get better every day like me. It makes all the hard training on courtand in the gym a little easier because you feel the energy from everyone else. It is also nice that everything is so close and everything I need to train like a pro is in one place.
Q: You are only 18 years old and I'm sure a lot of your friends are heading off to college. Is the pro tour as glamorous as it sounds or can it be tough? And does part of you wish you could experience life asa "normal" 18 year old?
Heather: Being on Tour definitely has some perks but it is not easy traveling almost every week and it is very hard work and a lot of training. Until last year, I was planning on going to college but things suddenly clicked for me and my tennis career took off. I am sure my friends are gonig to be having fun in college but I am getting to play at some of the coolest palces in the world and competing against the best in the world. I think I am pretty lucky.
Q: What is your favorite place you have visited so far?
Heather: I love New York City so that is my favroite place I have traveled and probably will always be myfavorite. I am definitely a city girl.
Q: What is one item that you always bring on every trip that you couldn't leave home without?
Heather: My Blackberry! I use BBM all the time and since I am on the road a lot is is one of the best ways to stay in touch with friends and family. I also always travel with my lucky teddy bear that i carry in my tennis bag.
With a good head on her shoulders and all the talent in the world, we wish Heather the best of luck this summer heading into the U.S. Open and throughout her long promising career!