Heather Watson & The British Renaissance
Published July 17, 2012 12:00
CARLSBAD, CA, USA - With the London Olympics less than two weeks away, it seems like a perfect time for the Brits to step up - and these past weeks they really have. Led by Heather Watson, there are now four Brits in the Top 100, the first time that has happened since, well, before Watson was even born.
The British uprising began just a few weeks ago at Wimbledon, when Watson became the first player from the home country to reach the third round there in 10 years. And the 20-year-old wasn't finished there, as in Stanford last week she reached the second round in singles and won the doubles title. She was the first Brit to win a WTA title of any kind since February 1992 (when British pair Belinda Borneo and Clare Wood won the doubles title in Wellington).
Watson is now British No.1 in both disciplines - singles and doubles.
"Being British No.1 has always been one of my goals, in singles and doubles. I'm glad I've achieved it now," Watson said. "I just want to keep climbing the rankings now. Set new goals, reach new targets and just keep improving."
And on winning her first WTA title? "I love to play finals. You know you have to win them, because nothing's going to be given to you. Marina and I really went out there and gave it everything in Stanford. But there wasn't time for celebration - we had to shower, change and hop on a plane to come here for the next one!
"After I'm done here I'll celebrate, but for my celebration I just want to do nothing - everything's so busy all the time and I'm always doing so much, I really just want to relax. So maybe I'll go to the beach here, go surfing, play a little golf..."
Meanwhile at last week's clay court event in Palermo, Robson also broke through - having never been to a WTA quarterfinal before, she made it all the way to her first WTA semifinal, losing to Barbora Zahlavova Strycova. Robson was just the second British woman in the last 20 years to reach a WTA semifinal in singles (Anne Keothavong has achieved that seven times).
And with Keothavong and Elena Baltacha firmly established in the Top 100 already, Watson and Robson's recent surges now put four Brits in the Top 100 - Watson at No.71, Keothavong No.76, Robson No.91 and Baltacha No.100. The last time there were four Brits in the Top 100 came all the way back in March 1991 (Jo Durie, Sara Gomer, Sarah Loosemore and Monique Javer).
All four will be competing at the London Olympics. Keothavong and Baltacha will compete in singles and all four will compete in doubles, with Keothavong and Baltacha teaming up and Watson and Robson partnering together too.