Heather Watson Q&A
Love tennis? We caught up with GB tennis star Heather Watson, ahead of this week's Fed Cup (Feb 3-5) in Israel
Firstly, a bit of background. The Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, as it’s officially known, is like a World Cup of tennis. It’s the world’s largest annual international team competition in women’s sport and 102 nations have entered this year. It’s the women’s equivalent of the Davis Cup – a team-based tournament where you play in group matches according to the zone in the world you come from and how you did in the same tournament the previous year (it’s pretty complicated, so see fedcup.com for more info). There are six people in a team and Great Britain are competing in Europe/Africa Group 1 round robin for the 12th consecutive year. They’re playing their first match tomorrow, February 4 against South Africa…
H&F: How important is it in your annual tennis calendar?
Heather Watson: ‘I always play in the Fed Cup – I’ve played every time I’ve been invited and love to represent my country. I’m really looking forward to it. It doesn’t have anything to do with our rankings though.’
H&F: Judy Murray (Andy’s mum) is a non-playing team captain. What does that involve?
Heather Watson: ‘Judy picks the team and is great at mentoring us and motivating us to do well – she has a great personality and is fun and helps the team gel, but when we’re on court, she has a calm demeanor. She’s a coach as well – she sits courtside and goes through the match with us and gives us tips.’
H&F: Has Jo Konta’s recent success inspired you?
Heather Watson: ‘Jo’s done brilliantly in Australia. I felt it coming as I knew how good she’s been. She’s smashed it out the park and is keeping it rolling – she got to the fourth round at the US Open too and has heaps of confidence right now. It’s great for our team spirit.’
H&F: It’s been reported that Jo Konta's mental strength has improved a lot since working with a mind coach. Do you have one too?
Heather Watson: ‘Yes, it’s a really important part of the game. I got one a few years ago, but it’s a different one from Jo’s.’
H&F: What last-minute preparation have you been doing?
Heather Watson: ‘I’ll still be doing three to four hours of tennis and two hours of fitness training a day until two days before. I’ll probably have the afternoon off the day before though.’
H&F: How do you rate the chances of the British team?
Heather Watson: ‘It’s always such a lottery as the players can be a lot more inspired playing for their country and in a team so you get some unusual results. We have South Africa and Georgia in our group, but don’t know the actual players yet. Anything could happen!’
H&F: What’s next after the Fed Cup?
Heather Watson: ‘The Mexican Open in Acapulco at the end of February, the Monterrey Open in Mexico after that, then the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California in March.’
Interview courtesy of the LTA (lta.org.uk)