Guernsey Press

Watson’s past and present form key to wild card

HEATHER WATSON’S prayers have been answered by the powers-that-be at Wimbledon.

Heather Watson's recent form, including reaching the Rothesay Open semi-finals in Nottingham, was taken into account in her being granted a Wimbledon wild card. (Picture by Zac Goodwin/PA Wire, 32204611)

The 31-year-old Sarnian has been granted a wild card by the All England Club into the women’s singles at this year’s Championships, which start on Monday 3 July. Last week Watson jokingly told the Guernsey Press ‘just pray for me’ when asked what she thought her chances were of getting a wild card.

The decision by the All England Club to give Watson a wild card is the second bit of good news she has received in a matter of days, coming hot on the heels of her 50-place jump up the world rankings to 145, having reached the semi-finals of the Rothesay Open in Nottingham last week.

However, that was never going to be enough for her to qualify automatically for Wimbledon. Besides a wild card, the only other way she was going to play singles in the main draw was by coming through the qualifying competition which starts next week.

Wednesday’s wild card news means Watson has been spared the notoriously brutal qualification route. Instead she can focus on playing in the annual Wimbledon warm-up event at Eastbourne.

In granting her a wild card, the All England Club took into consideration not only Watson’s recent climb up the rankings but also her previous form at the Championships.

In 2022 she reached the fourth round of the singles, the furthest she has ever managed at Wimbledon, while in 2016 Watson memorably won the mixed doubles event alongside Henri Kontinen of Finland.

This year she will almost certainly compete again in the Wimbledon mixed pairs, although alongside who has still to be determined.

We do, however, know the identity of Watson’s companion in the ladies’ doubles, with Harriet Dart, her regular on court partner in recent years, once more joining forces with the Sarnian.