As role models go, you’d be hard pressed to find a better example for the young players of today than Heather Watson. Always focused, always working hard to further her career on the court, but at the same time relaxed, polite and engaging off it. It’s a potent mix – and if that weren’t enough, she’s now a bona fide Wimbledon champion after her triumph in this year’s Mixed Doubles tournament. We caught up with Heather to find out what it takes to be a true winner.
Q: How does it feel to be a Wimbledon champion?
A: It feels very good to be a Wimbledon champion. I forget sometimes actually. A few weeks after people were seeing me saying congratulations and I’d think to myself “For what? What did I do?” But yeah it feels great. I’ve got the trophy in my apartment – it’s just a nice reminder of what I’ve accomplished. I’m very proud.
Q: When was the moment you thought you could win?
A: When we won our first match actually. We played the best team in the world, which was Martina Hingis and Leander Paes – they’ve been the best mixed doubles team for a long time. When we beat them in the first round, we then had the No.1 seed spot. From that moment I thought “We could win this.”
Q: Do you feel the energy from the home crowd?
A: Absolutely. One of my favourite things about tennis is the atmosphere, playing in front of a big crowd – I always want to be playing on the big courts. So playing on Centre Court in a Wimbledon final, and being the only Brit on the court, we definitely had a lot of support. I love the atmosphere when everybody gets involved. We weren’t sure if there’d still be a lot of people there, because it was the women’s final before, but it was still almost full and the atmosphere was insane. Obviously winning was the cherry on top and I just felt like I did everybody proud.
Q: Talk us through a match that stands out in your memory.
A: When I was playing Serena at Wimbledon, last year on Centre Court, it was the third round, and I’ve never had a crowd that was that insane, with that much energy. I was getting goosebumps while I was playing and that doesn’t usually happen, I’m usually zoned in. I’d just won the second set. I’d got killed first set 6-2 – I was just happy to get two games to be honest. Second set I was losing, and most people thought, rightly so, that Serena would just walk through the match easily; but I kept fighting, I had the home crowd on my side, and I just fought like crazy. When I won that second set I think people were like “Wow, we’ve got a chance here” and just got really involved. I absolutely loved the adrenaline, the feeling, the sound – everything about that moment.
The New Balance Game Changer Tank will be worn by Heather Watson at this year’s Australian Open.
The New Balance Game Changer Skort will be worn by Heather Watson at this year’s Australian Open.
The New Balance 996 v3 tennis shoe features NB's first ever knit, nylon infused upper that’s heat-fused for strength and durability.