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Laura Robson draws GB level in Argentina

Robson draws GB level in Argentina after Konta loses opener

By
Mark Staniforth, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

17:05 GMT, 20 April 2013

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UPDATED:

17:05 GMT, 20 April 2013

Laura Robson kept Great Britain's hopes of returning to the Fed Cup World Group alive with an emphatic victory over Florencia Molinero in Buenos Aires today.

The world number 38 brushed aside her inexperienced opponent 6-1 6-1 to pull Great Britain level at 1-1 against Argentina after Johanna Konta lost the opening rubber to Paula Ormaechea.

Robson will be strongly fancied to defeat Ormaechea in the reverse singles tomorrow, with Konta due to face Molinero and a potentially decisive doubles rubber also to come.

Roar: Laura Robson clenches her fist in delight during her win over Florencia Molinero

Roar: Laura Robson clenches her fist in delight during her win over Florencia Molinero

Coach well pleased: Judy Murray expresses her happiness over Robson's performance

Coach well pleased: Judy Murray expresses her happiness over Robson's performance

Robson had plenty of pressure on her shoulders heading into the tie at Parque Roca, with Great Britain banking on her to lead them back into World Group II after an absence of 20 years.

But the 19-year-old showed few signs of nerves as she raced through the first set and went 5-0 ahead in the second.

Despite being broken when she served for the match, she recovered to close it out on Molinero's serve in the next game and kept plenty in reserve.

Whipping it away: With Heather Watson out of the tie, Robson was under pressure to perform

Whipping it away: With Heather Watson out of the tie, Robson was under pressure to perform

Quick and easy: She completed a straight forward 6-1 6-1 win over her opponent from Argentina

Quick and easy: She completed a straight forward 6-1 6-1 win over her opponent from Argentina

Earlier world number 146 Konta had found the going tough against Ormachea and fell to a 6-3 6-2 defeat.

Konta, selected in the absence of Heather Watson due to illness, never recovered from a bad start as she fell 4-0 behind to a player ranked 21 places higher at 143 in the world.

Going behind: Johanna Konta had a harder day at the office losing to Paula Ormaechea

Going behind: Johanna Konta had a harder day at the office losing to Paula Ormaechea

Konta made a stronger start to the second set but was broken in the fourth game and when she was broken for a second time in her next service game, she was consigned to defeat.

After the two reverse singles, Robson will team up with veteran Anne Keothavong for the doubles, should they be required, against Maria Irigoyen and Mailen Auroux.

Team effort: Murray tries to impart some of her wisdom to get Konta back on track

Team effort: Murray tries to impart some of her wisdom to get Konta back on track

Roger Draper to leave role as LTA chief in September

LTA chief Draper to stand down in September after seven years at the helm

By
Mike Dickson

PUBLISHED:

15:50 GMT, 13 March 2013

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UPDATED:

17:49 GMT, 13 March 2013

Roger Draper will depart the Lawn Tennis Association in September a wealthy man, leaving the leadership role of a sport that is still massively short of realising its potential at elite level or in terms of growing grass-roots participation.

The key to his departure, officially dressed up as a resignation, goes back several months with two significant factors: the arrival of a new independent Chairman at the LTA and the revelation for the first time of Draper’s extraordinary 640,000 salary and bonus package, that caused consternation both in tennis and British sport in general.

At the beginning of January David Gregson, a highly successful businessman whose public roles also include being a Director of the Olympic Legacy Board, was brought in from the outside to provide a sharper edge to the organisation’s governance.

On his way: Roger Draper will leave his role with the LTA in Septermber

On his way: Roger Draper will leave his role with the LTA in Septermber

He made it his first priority to
assess the position of Draper, who since his arrival in 2006 has been a
polarising figure in the British game and overseen a huge turnover in
staff but not a reduction in numbers, with a staggering 315 now
employed.

His many critics – and even a few
supporters – were stunned when December’s accounts showed that he was
paid a basic salary of 400,000, plus a pension contribution of 40,000
and, most controversially of all, a bonus of just over 200,000.

It was subsequently explained by LTA
President Peter Bretherton that this was for meeting certain targets.
Yet participation in recent years has flatlined overall and the rankings
of professional players have also been broadly been stagnant, bar the
exceptions of Andy Murray, Laura Robson and Heather Watson, none of whom
could be termed products of a repeatedly failed centralised system.

Active: Draper playing with Lord Rothermere at the LTA Tennis Centre

Active: Draper playing with Lord Rothermere at the LTA Tennis Centre

The reason for Draper’s remuneration
becoming public was a technical change to the corporate status of the
organisation which meant, for the first time, that the pay of the
highest earning director needed to be published.

The wheels of change in British
tennis usually turn painfully slowly but Gregson, who made his fortune
in the private equity business, has moved uncommonly fast in bringing
about the change of leadership, which will happen in September.

I understand there was a gathering of the LTA’s main board directors last week at which his future was discussed and he will be paid up until the expiry of his contract,
which was at the end of this year. It is also believed there was concern
from Wimbledon, which pumps its annual profits that exceed 30 million
into the British game, about what was happening at an organisation whose
annual salary costs under Draper have shot to more than 15 million.

Success: Andy Murray became a grand slam winner during Draper's time

Success: Andy Murray became a grand slam winner during Draper's time

Draper can take some credit for the
LTA’s commercial and sponsorship operation being considerably enhanced
over his tenure, and for bringing more of a certain energy to the place.
There have been some encouraging junior results but these have yet to
come close to any broader upswing in the performances at elite level.
Britain’s men’s number two, James Ward is ranked 209. The policy of
employing high profile and expensive foreign coaches brought no results
has been completely reversed.

Grass roots participation has been
level at best despite the huge funding from Wimbledon and government,
and the corrosive sense of ‘them and us’ between people in and outside
the LTA system is probably worse than ever.

But make no mistake, while there will
be many applicants for the Chief Executive’s position at a rich and
high-profile organisation, in a sport with so much potential for growth,
it is a very difficult job. The issues facing British tennis are deep
rooted, and the faint hearted should not apply.

Progress The British women's game, led by Laura Robson, has also improved

Progress The British women's game, led by Laura Robson, has also improved

Fed Cup team will fight Argentina for promotion in World Group II play-offs

Fed Cup to fight Argentina for promotion in World Group II play-offs

By
Liv Lee

PUBLISHED:

10:51 GMT, 13 February 2013

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UPDATED:

12:14 GMT, 13 February 2013

The Fed Cup team's next opponent has been announced and the British squad will take on Argentina on April 20-21.

The team reached the World Group II play-offs after beating Bosnia, Portugal, Hungary and Bulgaria in the Europe/Africa Zone Group I.

It's the second consecutive year that the team has reached this stage in the competition, having lost to Sweden in the play-offs last year. This time they are determined not to let a promotion to the second tier of the competition slip through their fingers.

The Fed Cup team celebrated on court following their win over Bulgaria

Victorious: The Fed Cup team celebrated on court after making it to the World Group II play-offs

Unfortunately for the British team they won't have the home advantage, as Argentina were drawn as the hosts.

However, they will travel there with two players who have recently been pushing for a top 40 spot, while Argentina's top player, Paula Ormaechea, is currently ranked 195th, and may not even be available for the tie after picking up an injury against Sweden.

Britain's No 1 and No 2, Heather Watson and Laura Robson, both proved their mettle in last week's group tie's, with only one loss between them.

Team captain Judy Murray seemed enthusiastic about the draw, tweeting: 'Buenos dias Buenos Aires. Vamos @HeatherWatson92 @laurarobson5 @JoKonta91 @annekeothavong @ElenaBaltacha xxxxx #GBFedCup'

Anne Keothavong also seemed happy with the draw, tweeting: 'Argentina. Away. April. Bring it on! #GBFedCup.'

Fed Cup: Laura Robson and Johanna Konta dish out whitewash as Great Britain thrash Bosnia

Robson and Konta dish out whitewash as Britain thrash Bosnia in Fed Cup opener

By
Steven Donaldson

PUBLISHED:

15:20 GMT, 7 February 2013

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UPDATED:

15:43 GMT, 7 February 2013

Great Britain started their Fed Cup Group One campaign with a resounding 3-0 win over Bosnia in Eilat, Israel.

Anne Keothavong defeated Dea Herdzelas 6-4 6-2 in the first rubber before British No 1 Heather Watson claimed a 6-3 6-4 victory over Anita Husaric to set up a 2-0 lead.

Laura Robson and Johanna Konta then finished things off with a comprehensive 6-0 6-0 whitewash of duo Jelena Simic and Jasmina Kajtazovic as Britain completed a perfect start.

Konta and Robson speak to captain Judy Murray

Laura Robson

All smiles: Judy Murray clearly enjoyed Laura Robson and Johanna Konta's doubles victory in Israel

High five: Konta and Robson celebrate with British team after their doubles victory on Thursday

High five: Konta and Robson celebrate with British team after their doubles victory on Thursday

The Pool B games had been delayed after heavy rain yesterday, which meant Great Britain could only begin their tournament today.

However, it did not disrupt their preparations as they started off in the best possible style ahead of tomorrow's scheduled meeting with Portugal.

On form: British No 1 Heather Watson (above) and team-mate Anne Keothavong (below)

On form: British No 1 Heather Watson (above) and team-mate Anne Keothavong (below)

Anne Keothavong

Flying the flag: British fans watch the action at the Municipal Tennis Club in Eilat

Flying the flag: British fans watch the action at the Municipal Tennis Club in Eilat

Heather Watson beaten by Agnieszka Radwanska in Australian Open 6-3, 6-1

End of the road for brave Heather: Fourth seed Radwanska outclasses Watson in third

By
Mike Dickson

PUBLISHED:

01:58 GMT, 18 January 2013

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UPDATED:

03:08 GMT, 18 January 2013

There was to be no repetition of the Wimbledon wipeout suffered against the same player in the same round, but Heather Watson could not save herself from bowing out of the Australian Open third round.

Despite a much-improved performance compared to SW19 in June – reflecting the improvements she has made in her game – Watson was beaten 6-3, 6-1 in 84 minutes by fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska.

It was a somewhat harsh scoreline and the British number one could have doubled her tally of games with a little more composure at the right time, but the Pole was always good value for her victory.

Over and out: Heather Watson was beaten in the third round by Agnieszka Radwanska

Over and out: Heather Watson was beaten in the third round by Agnieszka Radwanska

Consolation for Watson is that from her ranking of 50 she will go into the low forties, and has made a decent start towards her season’s goal of getting into the mid twenties. She and Laura Robson, the first two British players in the third round of a Grand Slam since 1991, have shown they belong in the top half century of players.

Barely ten hours after Robson had epically upset former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova on the Rod Laver Arena, they were across Melbourne Park on the Hisense Arena, the venue’s secondary stadium.

It was mid morning rather than past midnight and the weather was also very different, the famously changeable Melbourne climate swapping desert heat for much more overcast, cooler and windier conditions.

Winning feeling: Agnieszka Radwanska won in straight sets against Watson

Winning feeling: Agnieszka Radwanska won in straight sets against Watson

Priority One for Watson was to avoid the slow starts she had in the first two rounds, and the first set blowout she had against the Pole in Wimbledon’s third round, when she went down 6-0 in 24 minutes before losing the second 6-2.

Watson has said that the Wimbledon result ‘killed me’, and she might not be much more pleased with the numerical outcome of this, although it was definitely a better performance and one in which her more cautious sense of adventure was not always rewarded with good fortune.

She came out much quicker this time and started the better of the two, forcing two break points, missing the second with a forehand against a player you simply cannot afford to give second chances to.

Starting well: Watson did well at the start of the first set

Starting well: Watson did well at the start of the first set

Making the shot: Watson gets the ball over the net

Radwanska is an antidote to the biff bash school of women’s tennis that predominates, and sometimes gets mentioned in the same breath as Martina Hingis. She cleverly constructs rallies and opens up the court intelligently, relying on guile more than brute force.

At Wimbledon Watson attacked, headless-chicken style, but this time she was more prudent and sought to get to the net when she could, but the beaten SW19 finalist was always a little too solid.

Heather Watson

Agnieszka Radwanska

Mixed emotions: Radwanska celebrates her win as Watson looks dejected

After the disappointment of the fourth game Radwanska broke for 3-2, and then more decisively for 5-2, when the 20 year-old Channel Islander served a double fault and failed to get a point. Breaks were then traded for the set to be taken in 36 minutes.

The second was more processional, at least until a drizzle break caused the roof to be closed at 3-0. Watson paid at times for her overheads not being more punishing, and her opponent scrambled every lost cause admirably. There was a consolation game at 5-0 and should have been another after that.

Time for treatment: Radwanska gets medical attention during a break in her win over Watson

Time for treatment: Radwanska gets medical attention during a break in her win over Watson

Watson could have served better, managing only 51 per cent of first deliveries in and knows she has to continue working on that aspect. But she has shown more strong resolve in this tournament to pluck two wins out of the fire, and can progress further from here.

All over: Radwanska is congratulated by Watson

All over: Radwanska is congratulated by Watson

Australian Open 2013 LIVE: Follow all the action as Heather Watson takes on Ksenia Pervak of Kazakhstan

Australian Open 2013 LIVE: Follow all the action as Heather Watson takes on Ksenia Pervak of Kazakhstan

By
Liv Lee

PUBLISHED:

02:07 GMT, 16 January 2013

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UPDATED:

04:14 GMT, 16 January 2013

Heather Watson battled cramp, fatigue and Alexandra Cadantu in the first round, and came back from a set down to beat the Romanian 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.

It was the first victory the British No 1 has ever recorded at the Australian Open, and now she takes on 82nd ranked Ksenia Pervak.

These two have never met on the seniors tour, but Watson can expect a tough battle from the Kazakh, who dispatched Mona Bartel, a player ranked 44 places above her, 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 in the first round.

Don't forget you can send your comments to me at [email protected]

04.14: Jankowicz FINALLY takes the fifth set. Make way for Watson.

3.48: TWEET: Neil Harman ‏@NeilHarmanTimes

'Jerzy Janowicz is about to complete comeback from two sets down against Devvarman on No.8 with added value of bringing on Heather Watson'

3.33: Watson's match has been pushed back until 4am. Somdev Devvarman and Jerzy Janowicz are now into their fifth set.

3.15: TWEET: Mike Dickson ‏@Mike_Dickson_DM

'Long match prior to Heather Watson. Hope I'm wrong but think that Pervak may be a tougher opponent than some expect.'

3.00: Unlikely to see Watson on court before 3.30.

2.30: So far there have been no signs of the elbow injury that forced Watson to withdraw from the Hobart International earlier this month. British fans will have to hope that the problem doesn't return when Watson is in the best form of her career.

 It was fatigue and cramp than plagued Watson on Monday, not the elbow injury that forced her to withdraw from the Hobart International earlier this month.

No sign of injury: It was fatigue and cramp than plagued Watson on Monday, not the elbow injury that forced her to withdraw from the Hobart International earlier this month.

2.15: If Watson can make it past Pervak, she will face fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the third round. The World No 4 beat Irina Camelia-Begu 6-3, 6-3.

2.02: Watson unlikely to make an appearance until 3am because Somdev Devvarman and Jerzy Janowicz took 79 minutes to complete their first set. Devverman won the tie-break 7-6 (12-10). The two are level at 3-3 in the second.

2.00: Although these two haven't met on the seniors tour, they did face each other in the junior version of this tournament back in 2009. The 21-year-old Kazakh – originally from Russia – blasted past Watson in straight sets and went on to beat fellow Brit Laura Robson in the final.

Robson joined Watson in the second round yesterday after overcoming American Melanie Oudin with relative ease.

Monday's win was the first for Heather Watson at the Australian Open

Triumph: Monday's win was the first for Heather Watson at the Australian Open

Australian Open 2013: Laura Robson into second round

Robson beats American Oudin to deliver first win and join Watson in round two

By
Mike Dickson

PUBLISHED:

05:33 GMT, 15 January 2013

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UPDATED:

06:16 GMT, 15 January 2013

Laura Robson spent the first year of her life in this charming city and, just short of her 19th birthday, she has now won a grand slam match there.

The British No 2 convincingly overcame America’s Melanie Oudin 6-2 6-3 after 75 minutes of highly efficient combat, played out in warm conditions to reach the second round of the Australian Open, where she will join Heather Watson.

Robson now has the tough task of facing former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, a left hander to whom she is not entirely dissimilar in their natural ball-striking abilities. The Czech will not hugely relish the task, given what her younger opponent did to some illustrious names in the US Open.

Double trouble: Laura Robson joined Heather Watson in the second round of the Australian Open

Double trouble: Laura Robson joined Heather Watson in the second round of the Australian Open

Double trouble: Laura Robson joined Heather Watson in the second round of the Australian Open

There was also evidence in this first round match that the hard work Robson has put in during a long training stint in Florida before Christmas with Croatian coach Zeljko Krajan has already paid a dividend.

She looked in good shape, is gradually moving better and there seems to be some extra ‘pop’ on her groundstrokes and, especially, her serve. That yielded eleven aces on a medium paced hard court and readily got her out of trouble on the few occasions she was threatened.

Oudin is a cautionary tale, a rising star at 17 who reached the US Open quarter finals and Wimbledon fourth round but has subsequently struggled to handle the pressures thrust upon her in a country anxiously looking for successors to the Williams sisters.

Blue skies: Robson impressed the healthy crowd in attendance in Melbourne

Blue skies: Robson impressed the healthy crowd in attendance in Melbourne

Robson’s rise has been more gradual due mainly to growth-related injuries, and that may not be a bad thing. Having lost here in the first round a year ago she should now move back into the top 50 having slipped this week to 53, and she looks worth that position.

Supported by a decent British contingent in the crowd Robson, who arrived in the UK aged six via a long stint in Singapore, was even treated to a version of the national anthem as she pulled ahead in the first set.

Oudin, ranked 30 places below her, was behind from the start as the Wimbledon-based southpaw repeatedly tucked into her serve and forced her onto the backfoot. When Robson came to serve she was hardly threatened, regularly able to crunch away a winner from a short return as the American struggled to cope with the swing, spin and speed of her left-handed delivery.

Eyes on the prize: Robson will now take on former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the second round

Eyes on the prize: Robson will now take on former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the second round

The British No 2 was up around the 110 mph mark on plenty of occasions and the diminutive Oudin was left flailing around in despair, not helped by her misfiring forehand in the case of rallies getting started. Such was the accuracy of Robson’s drives into the corners that most of the time she was not in a comfortable postion to play the shot.

Robson got ahead for 3-2 in the second but then played her worst service game to get broken for the only time. She broke again immediately afterwards and this time had no problem consolidating, clinching a second match point when Oudin sent another forehand wide and long.

After losing to her near contemporary Sloane Stephens in the first round of the Hobart WTA event last week this was just what was needed, and she now has very little to lose against Kvitova in what could be steaming hot conditions.

Australian Open 2013 LIVE: Laura Robson takes on Melanie Oudin

Australian Open 2013 LIVE: Follow all the action as Laura Robson kicks off her campaign against Melanie Oudin

By
Liv Lee

PUBLISHED:

03:53 GMT, 15 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

04:06 GMT, 15 January 2013

Join Sportsmail for the very best live coverage of the 2013 Australian Open.

Tonight Laura Robson takes on Melanie Oudin as she seeks a second round spot in Melbourne. If she can beat the American it will be the first time that Robson has made it past the first round at this tournament, and she could face either Francesca Schiavone or Petra Kvitova in the next round.

Don't forget you can send your comments to me at [email protected] and follow our tennis correspondent Mike Dickson on Twitter @Mike_Dickson_DM

03.59: Robson
has made it past the first round of a Grand Slam before. The
18-year-old went all the way to the fourth at last year’s US Open,
overcoming Kim Clijsters and Li Na on the way.

She was eventually knocked out by Sam Stosur 6-4, 6-4.

 The British No 2 made broke into the top 50 earlier this month

On the way up: The British No 2 made broke into the top 50 earlier this month

03.41am: Heather
Watson fought through illness to overcome Romania’s Alexandra Cadantu
in her first round match yesterday, and now British No 2 Robson will be
doing her best to join her.

These two actually met during the qualifying rounds of last year's Australian Open. Robson took the victory in straight sets but since then the American has climbed from 166 in the world to 84th.

Robson has also risen in the rankings over the last year, breaking into the top 50 for the first time only this month.

Anne Keothavong loses first-round match in Shenzhen

Keothavong crashes out of Shenzhen with straight sets defeat

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UPDATED:

09:09 GMT, 31 December 2012

Defeat: Keothavong lost her first-round match on Monday

Defeat: Keothavong lost her first-round match on Monday

Anne Keothavong's season got off to the worst possible start as she was knocked out of the WTA tour event in Shenzhen by China's Peng Shuai on Monday.

The British number three, who came through qualifying over the weekend, was beaten 6-4 6-0 by the sixth seed in the first round.

The defeat will be a setback for Keothavong's Australian Open preparations with the first grand slam of the year starting in Melbourne in two weeks.

Laura Robson won her first-round match on Sunday as she triumphed 6-2 6-1 over Romania's Edina Gallovits-Hill.

Second seed Marion Bartoli dropped just one game against Chinese wildcard Wing-Yau Chan.

British number one Heather Watson is playing in the ASB Classic in Auckland this week.

Heather Watson aiming to stay top Brit

Looking after No 1… Ambitious Watson aiming to stay top Brit

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UPDATED:

23:23 GMT, 21 December 2012

To gain an appreciation of how Heather Watson has become such a nuggety tennis player it helps to visit her at the place where it all started.

The IMG/Nick Bollettieri Academy on Florida's Gulf Coast is a very long way from her native Guernsey, but it was here that she arrived as a 12-year-old armed with a racket bag, a few mementoes of home and dreams inside her head.

'That's where I first stayed, it's actually a classroom now but it used to house several dorms,' says Britain's No 1 as she points at a whitewashed block of buildings in the middle of the campus.

Green machine: Watson at the IMG Academy

Green machine: Watson at the IMG Academy

'It brings back a lot of good memories.' She looks almost surprised when you ask if she suffered any homesickness, but then not for nothing has the 20-year-old already acquired a reputation as one of the WTA Tour's most durable and resourceful newcomers. And it helps that her three roommates back in those days, aspiring young golfers from South Korea and America – and another called Nicola Reynolds from Guildford – turned out to be friends for life.

'It was too much fun in the dorms to be homesick and those three were great, I think they would be the bridesmaids at my wedding if I ever got married. I just found the whole thing very exciting and I can't remember anything negative about it at all.'

Watson's parents Ian and Michelle had decided that if she was to be serious about her tennis she had to leave Guernsey and head for a place with a track record of producing good players and they plumped for Bradenton.

After three years her mother came to live there part-time and she moved out of the dorms to focus more professionally. Michelle no longer travels that much with her after a request this summer from her daughter that she have a bit more space.

Bathed in year-round sunshine and with an on-site high school, the academy turned out to be a decent choice, which is why Watson heads into the new season exuding such optimism, even by her own sunny standards.

Delight: Watson after her memorable victory in Osaka in October

Delight: Watson after her memorable victory in Osaka in October

When she flies to Auckland on
Christmas night it will be as the world No 49, with a very particular
plan as to how she will build on the success of the past two seasons
that has come quicker than anyone expected.

Watson
approaches each campaign with military precision and every December
holds what might be termed an Annual General Meeting with her father,
which can last three hours and features a devastatingly honest appraisal
of the season just gone.

'We
have to be absolutely clear about things and not hold back. It can get
quite heated although this year's took only two hours because I reached
my main target, which was to get into the world's top 50,' she says.

'For the coming season the soft target is to get into the top 30 and the ultimate one is to make the top 25. It would be great to be seeded for a Grand Slam, which sounds a lot but I believe in setting quite tough goals.'

There is also the incentive to ward off the rising challenge of Laura Robson, although she places that in a wider context. 'I would want to finish the year British No 1, not No 2, but I am focussed far more on what happens in the world rankings in general.'

Brit of all right: Watson in action at the London Olympics

Brit of all right: Watson in action at the London Olympics

Watson is currently ending her offseason training block in the company of her Colombian coach Mauricio Hadad and her fitness trainer Flo Pietzsch. On the day we meet she is practising with Alexander Sendegeya, a 16-year-old Liverpudlian based there who is trying a similar route to the top of the game.

After a festive visit from her mother Michelle, the three of them will take off for New Zealand knowing a big opportunity for ranking improvement presents itself. This is because she had a poor start to a season that ended with her becoming the first British player in 24 years to win a title on the main WTA Tour, the HP Open in Osaka.

'I went to Australia last year with half a sprained ankle that I did playing football and it was never going to be good in hindsight. The victory in Japan has really helped my confidence.'

Watson is relatively diminutive at 5ft 7in, but points out that Martina Hingis was no powerhouse either. 'The really positive thing is I've got to where I am with still so much that I can work on. I know I've got to get bigger shots and I'm using doubles to work on coming to the net, which is something I love. I know I am not that big but I have certain advantages with my speed and agility, and my mental toughness.'

Watson believes she is still three to four years off her best and will not rest until she becomes a factor more at the business end of Grand Slam tournaments.

Away from the court her ambition is to buy a flat close to Wimbledon and Roehampton's National Tennis Centre. 'London's expensive so I'm having to save up,' she says. 'I drove past those One Hyde Park apartments the other day. I might have to win a Grand Slam to afford one.