Watson sits out GB’s opening win in Bath
HEATHER WATSON was notable by her absence on day one of Great Britain’s series of crucial Fed Cup matches being staged this week at Bath University.
Having trained with no complaints since arriving in the west country city last Sunday, the Sarnian was left out of the team to face Slovenia by GB team captain Anne Keothavong after being declared unwell.
News of Watson’s non-participation came at the last minute and proved to be a major disappointment to many of those who had flocked to the sell-out tie.
The 26-year-old is the most popular and experienced member of the current five-strong GB team, having played in 31 previous Fed Cup ties dating back to 2011.
No further information was given regarding the nature of her illness, but a Lawn Tennis Association spokesman said it was hoped Watson would play at least some part in GB’s tie against Greece, which gets under way later this afternoon.
Watson was never certain of a singles berth this week having recently been usurped in the world rankings by Katie Boulter, with Johanna Konta remaining the GB number one choice.
Boulter duly made the most of her big opportunity against Slovenia yesterday, defeating Kaja Juvan in the tie’s opening match in straight sets before Konta won too.
Far more likely was the prospect of Watson appearing in the doubles, her record in pairs competition over recent years far outshining her singles form.
Ultimately it was Harriet Dart and Katie Swan who took on doubles duties for GB against Slovenia in the Sarnian’s absence and completed a 3-0 win overall.
It remains to be seen whether Keothavong will risk splitting the Dart/Swan partnership for the tie against Greece in favour of Watson’s participation, providing that is her health improves.