Only Wade is above Watson in the GB list
HEATHER WATSON is up to joint second on the all-time singles wins list for Great Britain in the Fed Cup.
The Guernsey star’s victory over Rebecca Sramkova in Bratislava on Saturday takes her level with her current Fed Cup captain Anne Keothavong on 21 singles victories for GB.
Only the legendary Virginia Wade has more on 36.
‘It feels great,’ said Watson after her win in the Axa Arena.
‘I was not actually thinking about that today, but it’s a really nice bonus and as I’ve always said I love playing Fed Cup.
‘I take every opportunity I can to play it, no matter where it is, what surface it’s on, I’m always there so I’m really proud of myself and proud to represent my country.’
It was Watson’s first Fed Cup win on clay, with all of her previous successes coming on hard courts since making her debut in 2011.
The Sarnian, who had lost to clay court specialist Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in Friday’s opening rubber of GB’s Fed Cup Qualifier with Slovakia, had been due to play the hosts’ top-ranked player Viktoria Kuzmova on Saturday, but she withdrew just before the match having been pushed all the way by British No. 3 Harriet Dart in a three-set thriller the previous evening.
Watson was ruthless in the first set against Sramkova, winning it 6-0 in just 26 minutes.
The home player fought back in the second set, but Watson broke when it mattered at 5-5 then served out the match.
‘I’m really pleased that I could get a point for Team GB,’ Watson said.
‘It was a tough day [on Friday], in my match I felt blown away by how my opponent played, I think she played really well, and Harriet put up such a great fight and it was really inspiring to see, especially on her Fed Cup debut.’
That result kept GB’s hopes alive in the overall tie, halving their deficit to 2-1, and 23-year-old Dart put up an excellent fight in her match with Schmiedlova, but eventually succumbed 7-5, 6-3.
The result means GB miss out on a place in the new Fed Cup Finals, taking place in Budapest 14-19 April.
They will return to action in the Fed Cup Play-Offs on 17-18 April, with a place in the 2021 Fed Cup Finals qualifiers at stake.
Despite the overall defeat, Watson thanked the GB fans who made the trip to Bratislava.
‘The support here has been unbelievable. It’s overwhelming how good it has been,’ she said.
‘I did not expect it to be this good. There are so many Brits in the crowd and they are so loud – thank you to them.’