Watson's New Plan Of Attack
Published August 03, 2013 12:00
It would be fair to say that 2013 has not exactly gone to plan for Heather Watson.
After finishing last season with a maiden career title and a Top 50 debut, Watson arrived Down Under for the new campaign in buoyant mood. And at first it looked like her upward trajectory would continue, as a third round appearance at the Australian Open and a quarterfinal in Memphis propelled her to a career-high ranking of No.39.
A bout of glandular fever, however, stopped her progress in its tracks, contributing to a run of poor form before forcing her off the tour entirely for the best part of two months.
Since returning at the end of May, progress has been slow as the 21-year-old has struggled to rediscover both form and fitness.
The first of these was parting with her coach of the last two years, Mauricio Hadad. Watson first met Hadad at the Bollettieri Academy in Florida as a 12-year-old and admitted during an interview with the BBC last week that it was not an easy decision.
"With coaches it's always going to be a tough call," Watson said. "At the end of the day it's my job, it's a business. I put a lot of thought into it and I thought it was best for me and my career."
The second change Watson felt needed to be made was to her style of play. Already renowned for her athleticism and fighting spirit, Watson hopes to implement a more attacking approach to her game to help compete with the big hitters at the top of the game.
"I know I'm a good volleyer," said added. "I love to play doubles, so why don't I use that in my game? It's because I haven't really worked on it. I want to work on it more and I want to add a slice to my game.
"In today's game you need to be aggressive, but also very consistent. It's not all about trying to smack loads of winners, it's also about chasing down balls and making a lot of balls and I have that. I feel like I need to add the winners and the aces to my game.
"I got to 39 in the world not doing all these amazing things but just with my regular game, so imagine if I did add coming to the net, a massive serve and slice into my game. Imagine what I could do then.
"I think it's very exciting and I'm looking forward to it."
Watson will work with the LTA's Jeremy Bates for the rest of the US hardcourt season before making a decision on a more long-term arrangement after the US Open. For the time being, though, she is just happy to be fully fit once again.
"I'm feeling really good," she said. "I've been in Florida for the past three weeks where it's super hot and humid, and I've had so much on-court time and done a lot of fitness, so I'm feeling very good now. I'm feeling the best that I've felt this year.
"It's been a really tough year for me having finished 2012 well and got to my career high, only to then kind of have it taken away a bit.
"We're over halfway through the year but I feel like it's the start for me now, because it's the first time I've felt good, healthy and ready to play."