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July 3, 2015

Heather Watson


6‑2, 4‑6, 7‑5

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Is it possible to take in all of that yet, the drama that unfolded this afternoon?
HEATHER WATSON:  Uhm, yeah, yeah, I've taken it in.  I mean, I was two points away from winning that match, so I'm pretty disappointed.  But, I mean, the atmosphere on that court was amazing.  I think it really helped me and pushed me.  I just wish I could have closed it out at the end.

Q.  Even though you lost, was it still the greatest day of your career?
HEATHER WATSON:  No, I wouldn't call losing the greatest day of my career.

Q.¬† How would you describe the feeling out there, going toe‑to‑toe with a player who may be the greatest of all time?
HEATHER WATSON:  It's very positive that I put myself in this position.  I mean, I could have been out first round in this tournament.  I was match points down.  I gave myself the opportunity to play against the best player in the world.
I also gave myself the opportunity to beat her.  I didn't take it this time.  But I'm really glad I was in that situation because I can learn from it and, uhm, do better next time.

Q.  What was the difference between you?

Q.  Yes.  What did she have that you didn't today?
HEATHER WATSON:  I'd say she had a lot of free points on her serve.  She served very well.  And, uhm, when it was important, she was able to produce very good tennis.
I thought I had a lot of opportunities to get even further ahead in the third set, but she was just able to just hold on.
That's why she is the best in the world.

Q.¬† The game in the third set when you were up 3‑Love, how important was that one game?
HEATHER WATSON:  I remember in that game I just kept saying to myself, This is really important, this game.  It would have just gotten me that bit further ahead, that bit closer.
I had chances, but, you know, it was just so close.  There was a few points that could have gone either way.  I just feel like when she needs to hit the line or needs to hit a winner, she'll just do it, and that's what she did.

Q.  What have you learnt about yourself today and what will you take from this experience moving forward positively?
HEATHER WATSON:  Well, I've learnt that I can compete with the best in the world and I can play really good tennis.  And, yeah, it's a positive.  I just need to use this to motivate myself for the future and know that I can be there, I can compete, and I can be at the top of the game.

Q.  You seemed to have quite a slow start, then wild swings in momentum.  What do you put those two things down to?
HEATHER WATSON:  Yeah, I did have a slow start.  But I think she also started well.  I wasn't handling her pace very well.  I wasn't sticking to the game plan that I'd planned to do.  But I didn't feel that she let me.  It was like a winner in the first, second ball.
Then in the second set, I just hung on, then was just able to creep ahead.  Every small opportunity I got, you just have to take it.  If you don't, then she'll punish you for it.

Q.  Did the crowd help you to find another level today?
HEATHER WATSON:  The crowd was amazing.  I think it's the best atmosphere I've ever played in at Wimbledon.  And, yeah, I felt really fit and strong today.  I didn't get tired at all during the match.  That's one of my strengths.  So I planned to use it for the match.

Q.¬† You spoke a moment ago of what you learned about yourself.¬† What did you learn about Serena from going face‑to‑face with her for the first time?
HEATHER WATSON:  Uhm, well, first of all, I got to feel what her ball feels like.  It's different watching her, watching videos before playing her, and actually being on the court with her.  So that was good for me for hopefully next time I play her.
And, yeah, like I said, I know I can be there, and that's what I've learnt about myself.

Q.  What does the ball feel like coming from her?
HEATHER WATSON:  Uhm, well, she has a great serve.  She served really well today.  And, yeah, very hard and heavy, and she directs it well.

Q.  Having played her today and taken what you have, if you played her tomorrow, could you beat her?
HEATHER WATSON:  Depends how good my recovery is tonight (smiling).

Q.  Would you beat her next time?
HEATHER WATSON:  Well, I hope so.  I know how I'd play.  I'd know my game plan.
Even now I just wish I could maybe go back and play one point different to see if it would have changed things.  But it wasn't supposed to be today.  But, yeah...

Q.  You feel you could beat her next time now?
HEATHER WATSON:  Well, absolutely.  Uhm, I wouldn't be playing if I didn't think I could beat the best in the world.

Q.  It would be very easy for you to have been daunted, not because you admired Serena from afar, but was there any point during the match that you thought, I used to have a poster of her on my bedroom wall when I was a girl?
HEATHER WATSON:  No.  All I saw today was an opportunity for me to make it to the second week of a Grand Slam, which is one of my goals for this year.  And it didn't matter who it was on the other side of the net.  All I was focused on was trying to achieve that goal.

Q.  Sounds like you really have an appetite for these kind of games, taking the best in the world on.  Going ahead, do you think you'll build on those goals you just talked about?
HEATHER WATSON:  Yeah, absolutely.  I play tennis.  I work hard.  I eat healthy.  I go to bed early all to play on center courts like this, all to try and beat the best players in the world for that feeling when you beat them.  For me, that's one of the best feelings in life.
So, yeah, I've definitely got a big appetite for it.

Q.  Obviously not now, but do you think in a week or two you'll reflect a bit more positively on the experience?
HEATHER WATSON:  Maybe, maybe not (smiling).
I'm really disappointed that I didn't, uhm, achieve my goal this week.  I still have another opportunity later on in the year.
But, uhm, it was a tough, tough ask today.  But I was super, super close.  I think that's what really hurts the most.

Q.  You've established it's not your greatest day, but would you consider that the best level you played at in terms of the intensity, the ball striking, the pace of the ball?
HEATHER WATSON:  I think today was the fittest I felt on the court.  I didn't get tired at all.  I felt really good throughout the whole match.
But it was a different game I had to play.  I'm not sure if it was the best, but, you know, I had to play a different way against her.  If I would have just tried to hit the ball a hundred miles an hour, she's the best in the world at that.  So I had to play smart today.
I think after the first set, I started to play very smart.

Q.  You can't have played much better than that and lost.  You hit a level of excellence in the second and third sets, extraordinary, especially in terms of defense.
HEATHER WATSON:  I thought my defense today was very good today, and it had to be.  And, yeah, when I got up in the score, I had a few opportunities, a few balls I could have put away or done more with, and didn't.

Q.  Is there anything else that you can say to describe Serena's serve and what it's like to face her, knowing she can pull it out at those key moments?
HEATHER WATSON:  Well, she has one of the best or the best serve in the women's game.  And, yeah, just got to try your best to try and retrieve it.
That was my goal today, was to get as many balls just back into play, not necessarily hitting a winner or anything, just to get it back.

Q.  What are your plans for now tonight, tomorrow?  How will you go through recovery?
HEATHER WATSON:¬† Well, I've had a protein shake and a little stretch‑down.¬† I'm going to have a massage, eat some food, have an early night because I have doubles and mixed doubles tomorrow.

Q.  A lot of times when people lose to someone like Serena, it's like she played great and everything.  Because of the way it played out, do you feel like that was yours for the taking and that's why you're so disappointed?
HEATHER WATSON:  I think it was a huge opportunity for me, not just before the match, but also during the match, towards the end.  You know, it's either super high if you win or quite low if you lose.
I think also, because she's the best in the world, you know, that would have been a great achievement for me.

Q.  You talk about being at the end and how you learned from it.  What would you have done, not so much tactically, but what would you have done, looking back, to put yourself in a better position at the end of the match?
HEATHER WATSON:  Well, at deuce when I was serving for it, and I hit that first serve, I hit a backhand, I would have hit that backhand super hard if I could go back rather than just making it.

Q.  What is it like when you have Serena on the other side of the net?  People talk about she's an intimidating person to see there.  You matched her today.  Why were you able to do that?
HEATHER WATSON:  Like I said, I just saw her as an opponent that was in the way of me and my goals.  I just wanted to reach that second week.  I wanted to make the fourth round of Wimbledon.  I wanted to win on Centre Court.  It didn't matter who it was against.

Q.  Serena said after the match that you should absolutely aim for the top 20.  In fact, she said you should aim higher.  I wonder just how high are your ambitions.  Are you aiming higher, maybe top 10, top 5?
HEATHER WATSON:  I make mini goals for myself.  As I achieve them, then I set them higher.
My goal for this year is top 25.  I've dropped a bit because I've been very inconsistent.  But this is a positive week.  Hopefully I can become more consistent now and use this as motivation and confidence.

Q.  Do you think Serena is actually intimidating to other players or is that just what we see from outside?
HEATHER WATSON:¬† Uhm, she's a great player.¬† You know, she's proven herself.¬† I mean, she's a multi‑Grand Slam winner.¬† I think it's 19 or 20.¬† You know, when you've achieved that much, she's one of the best players of all time.¬† You know, you're not going out on the court thinking it's going to be an easy match.¬† She's there for a reason, so...

Q.  Andy Murray has tweeted that you made him f'ing proud.  Are you conscious of having made Britain proud today?
HEATHER WATSON:  I hope so.  Yeah, it would have been a lot better if I would have won.  But, uhm, I hope I did.  I hope I fought for them and showed that, you know, it's not going to be a walk in the park for anybody that plays me.

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