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Heather Watson, the girl from PNG via Guernsey


Heather WatsonABOUT A WEEK INTO WIMBLEDON and the British have a new heroine and a fresh hope in Heather Watson.

On Wednesday, the 20-year-old became the first British woman to reach the third round of the championships in ten years.

But it is not just skill and grace that has endeared Heather to the public. She has a disarming charm and broad smile.

Endearingly, she believes her regular breakfast of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, with toast on the side, has helped bring her success.

So where did this young star spring from? She was born and raised on Guernsey, but her story began thousands of miles away in Papua New Guinea.

About 25 years ago, Heather’s father, Ian, met a young student called Michelle in Port Moresby.

She was from a remote village in the north of the country. The couple fell in love and decided to spend their lives together.

When Mr Watson’s four-year contract was up, they moved back to Europe and settled in Guernsey.

The young family enjoyed an enviable lifestyle. Home was a large house on the west coast and Heather was privately educated at Guernsey’s Ladies’ College.

She was ‘spotted’ playing tennis at the King’s Life sports club in the capital, St Peter Port, and quickly marked out for greatness. As it became clear she had real promise, her family decided she should train at the £25,000-a-year Bollettieri Academy in Florida.

So at the age of 12, Heather flew out to Florida. At first she boarded at the academy, but at the age of 16 she decided to get her own place.

Soon afterwards, Michelle went to America to live with her daughter.

Her father recalled: ‘I cried my eyes out at Guernsey airport, seeing them both leave, but it was what Heather wanted and it was the best thing to do.’

Heather Watson in actionHeather has described her father, himself a keen tennis player, as her ‘idol’. She said recently: ‘He’s just always so calm, and he says no matter how I do, he’ll be proud of me.’

Heather is totally focused on her tennis and is not believed to have a boyfriend.

Last year, she was devastated when she crashed out of Wimbledon in the first round. But this year – so far – has been a very different story.


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Peter Kranz

Heather's first round match this year at Wimbledon has been postponed. You can get updates here -


Peter Kranz

Heather nearly beat Serena. But she's getting better - to bring Serena to a close finish is pretty good. And the media still don't recognise her PNG heritage.


Colin Huggins

Miss Heather Watson who played magnificent tennis with Andy Murray in the recent Hopman Cup (2015) has just won her second WTA tournament in Hobart.

Her first WTA victory was in 2012 in Osaka, (Japan Open).

This time in Hobart defeating an American in straight sets 6.3., 6.4.

A boost to her present rankings of 280 points and $43,000 into her bank account.

I think she and Andy with their final position in the Hopman Cup got $25,000 each.

Her first round opponent in the Australian Open is Miss Tsvelana Pironkova of Bulgaria ranked 67, somewhat below Heather's ranking ( currently 49) - but now boosted after today.

Unfortunately then Heather strikes a snag if she proceeds into Round 2. - the very highly ranked, Miss Dominika Cibulkova (11) of the Slovak Republic and I cannot see Miss Cibulkova losing unless she suffers a Balkan meltdown, but stranger things have happened in tennis.

I wonder form PNG commentators if Heather Watson with a Papuan mother gets any coverage in the PNG Press?

Will Genia, Rugby Union, does and he is a wonderful sporting ambassador for PNG.

Colin Huggins

At the recent Hopman Cup, Miss Watson lost two of her singles matches against much higher ranked players: Miss Agneiszka Radwanska (4) of Poland and Miss Alize Corent (19) of France, but defeated Miss Casey Dellacqua (29) of Australia.

Partnering Andy Murray, she and Andy won 2 of their Mixed Doubles.

Presently Miss Watson has taken this good form to Hobart where she is now into the Quarter Finals by dispatching two higher ranked players most impressively.

Peter Kranz

Sadly, Heather lost her singles and has just lost the mixed doubles playing with Andy Murray. They put up a valiant fight in the doubles, but too many unforced errors saw her downfall in the singles.

But this is just the start of the season for the northern hemisphere players, so I think she is just warming up for a blistering attack on the Australian Open.

Our resident tennis expert Colin may have a lot more informed comments. Over to you Colin.

Peter Kranz

Heather has just taken the court representing the UK against Poland in the Hopman cup in Perth. View live on 7Mate.

Colin Huggins

You might like to put this up for Papua New Guinean readers to see how Heather Watson comes up - pretty snazzy, I think.

She is in a rather smashing black and white ensemble. I think "ensemble" is the correct terminology in the fashion stakes? It's a long time since I have strutted the stage - ha ha!


Colin Huggins

Miss Heather Watson who has a PNG'ian mother and has slipped in the ranking due to the usual injuries problems - presently ranked 134 in the Ladies rankings - has come with flying colours through the qualifying section and scored a good win over the Swiss young up and comer, Belinda Benic (age 16), ranked 146 and given a wild card into the main draw with a 7.5, 6.4 victory ensuring Miss Watson of a $16,000 US pay cheque or as the Yanks say "paycheck"!

Miss Watson has hardly been on "pauper street" so far this year with earnings of $52,975!

Next opponent will be a different proposition - the #4 in the world, Miss Agnieska Radwanska of Poland.

Still you are in it to win it.

Peter Kranz

Sad that the reports don't really mention her PNG heritage. She's breaking good ground in international tennis for PNG as well as the UK.

Pity this isn't reported. But most of the western press has ethnic sunglasses.

Most of them don't even know where PNG is.

And Heather's not black, she's from Guernsey! They have more sunlight there, doncha know?...

Chalapi Pomat

Wow - there you go - I didn't know Heather 's link to PNG.

As a tennis tragic - I now have a strong link to follow her progress in tennis & WTA.

Also, forget about "smoked salmon"; smoked tuna na praim saksak, em nau food for the champion.

Tru iet, na liklik kaukau tu - KJ

Peter Kranz

The Guardian reports -

Heather Watson makes history with Japan Open win over Chang Kai-chen

A lot of history has been made in British tennis lately and on Sunday Heather Watson added her name to the list when she became the first woman from these shores to win a WTA Tour title since 1988 with her victory in the Japan Open in Osaka. After Andy Murray's triumphs at the Olympics and the US Open, where he broke a 76-year men's grand slam drought, Watson snapped a 24-year winless streak by beating Chang Kai-chen of Taiwan 7-5, 5-7, 7-6 for the first of what promises to be many titles to come.

"I was in the changing room afterwards, changing my clothes, and I thought to myself, 'Did I really win?,'" said the 20-year-old, who won $37,000 (£23,000) and is set to break into the world's top 50 for the first time on Monday. "It's just starting to settle in. I'm proud to do it for my country and to represent them. Recently, we've been breaking quite a lot of records so I'm happy I could break another one today and hopefully I can break some more."

Colin Huggins

Miss Watson update: Stanford, California. USA.

Ladies Doubles Champions: 2012.

"The unseeded duo of Marina Erakovic (NZ) and Heather Watson won the doubles title later, defeating top seeds Jarmila Gajdosova(AUS) and Vania King (USA), 75 76(7). It was Erakovic's sixth WTA doubles title and Watson's first WTA title of any kind.

"This is my first WTA title so I'm really happy right now!" Watson said. "It's such a nice feeling getting to the end of the week and being the last ones here. We knew it wasn't going to be an easy match today - they're both great players and we knew we would really have to win it, they weren't going to give it to us.

"We ended up coming out on top and have the silverware to prove it - woohoo! But there won't be any celebration for me, because now I'm flying straight to Carlsbad. I'm training tomorrow and then playing my first match the next day!"

Things are starting to look good for Miss Watson.


Maski long dispela "smoked salmon" long kaikai long taim san i kamap. Tinpis na rais...'breakfast of champions' :)

Colin Huggins

An interesting analysis by one of the true champions, Kim Clijsters, of young Heather Watson and the thoughts of Heather on her match.

"LONDON, England - The first eight spots in the second week were snapped up at Wimbledon on Friday, with some familiar names - and some new ones - among those battling to victory on the slick lawns of the All-England Club.

One of the most noticeable matches - mainly because it involved Britain's last woman standing, as well as the World No.3 - was the Centre Court duel between Agnieszka Radwanska and Heather Watson. Radwanska has been one of the most consistent players this year, already reaching 10 quarterfinals.

And that consistency was too much for Watson, whose own consistent game just wasn't piercing enough against the No.3 seed. The Brit hit 13 winners but committed 19 unforced errors to fall in just under an hour, 60 62.

"She's No.3 in the world for a reason. She didn't miss," Watson said. "I think I tried to do too much, and then I tried to do too little. I just wasn't getting it right today. But it's a great learning experience for me. I've learnt a lot today.

"I'm going to improve and come back stronger."

Watson was particularly touched by the crowd support. "They were absolutely amazing throughout the whole match. I was getting support even when I was 60 30 down. It's so nice to play here at home in front of the home crowd - I just want to do well for them and keep coming back and playing for my country.

"I just love the feeling. I want it more. I can't wait till next year."

Kim Clijsters, who won her match against Vera Zvonareva via retirement when the No.12 seed had to stop due to a respiratory illness, was asked about Watson and what the 20-year-old needed to do to get to the next level.

"She's definitely a girl I've seen making some big improvements," Clijsters said. "She's gotten a lot fitter. She's a good fighter. I do think she can use a little bit more power in her shots if she wants to get a little bit further - but she's still young, and during tournaments is not the right time to start changing things.

"She's very consistent, but I think she lacks a little bit of strength and that one killer shot. But that's definitely something you can train on."

If "Aussie" Kim approves, then that says something.

Colin Huggins

Unfortunately Miss Watson's run has come to an end, courtesty of World #3 Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland.
Heather was beaten 0.6., 2.6. Nerves may have contributed quite a lot to this score line.

This encounter will only make her more determined and she has accumulated a heap of ranking points to defend at next year's event.

I would be surprised if Heather ever has before touched the grass on centre court at Wimbledon. At least she can now boast that she has played on it in a round 3, and there are not too many of the present players who can boast that they have played on this "hallowed" turf.

Well done Heather.

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