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July 1, 2019

Heather Watson

Wimbledon, London, England

H. WATSON/C. McNally

7-6, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How did that win feel?
HEATHER WATSON: Oh, I don't know. It was definitely a shaky start. I was a bit nervous today and I think it showed.

But I thought I got better as the match went on. Wasn't my best tennis, but really pleased to get through.

Q. How important do you think that win could be, bearing in mind after the last couple of weeks, the three first-round defeats you've had, mentally?
HEATHER WATSON: I'm a confidence player, so not having those wins in the last few weeks, I was maybe overthinking a bit. But I'd actually been practicing really, really well, winning all my practice sets. So losing in those first rounds was quite disappointing.

When I came here, I was actually practicing terribly. I had a practice with Petkovic the other day. I lost 6-1, 3-Love. But I was actually excited about it because I'd been practicing well losing. So I thought, I'm not practicing well now, and look, I've won (smiling).

Q. Very tricky first set. 3-1 down at one point. Was that all about nerves or finding a rhythm?
HEATHER WATSON: Yeah, I think a bit of both. First rounds in Grand Slams are always tough. There's a lot to gain, a lot to lose out there. Everybody wants to do well. It's normal to be nervous.

I had three double-faults in the first game. I actually said to my coach, I'm going to serve first, I'm serving so well at the moment. Then that happened.

It's not how you start, it's how you finish. I thought the last game was probably the best quality game of the match from both of us.

Q. You have Anett Kontaveit next. Your thoughts on facing her?
HEATHER WATSON: We've played each other four times, I think. It's 2-All in our head-to-head. I know her well. We've practiced a lot together. She's having maybe the best year of her career so far. She's seeded here.

It will be a tough match. I mean, every match here is tough. That goes without saying. But hopefully I can loosen up and improve my level.

Q. You were the target of some racist comments on social media. A man was arrested last week over it. Can you tell us about your experience on that?
HEATHER WATSON: Yes, it's actually sad to say, but it's pretty normal. I've had it throughout my whole career, I think. All the players get abuse online, which the WTA are really good and help us with all of that, investigating it all.

But it's sort of a daily thing, so it's impossible to, like -- as you said, somebody got arrested. Not everyone is going to get arrested, are they?

Q. Are you pleased that somebody has been arrested? Does it help in any way?
HEATHER WATSON: I'm glad there's stuff being done, showing that you can't get away with that, because it's just hate. Nobody wants that.

Q. Are you feeling less pressure than a couple years ago when you were British No. 1?
HEATHER WATSON: I think I just put a lot of pressure on myself naturally because of the person I am. I feel the same every year. I put the same amount of pressure on myself. I just really always want to do well.

Q. I don't know if you noticed, but the club has dropped the use of prefixes in women's games. Would you welcome that?
HEATHER WATSON: They do that now?

Q. They've dropped using it just because they don't do that with the men. They don't say Mr. Federer. They would differentiate between a Miss and a Mrs. They say they're trying to move with the times.
HEATHER WATSON: Equality is always good. I didn't even notice out there.

Q. You've been at Wimbledon a lot now.
HEATHER WATSON: 10 years. This is my 10th year.

Q. Has experience improved your performance over the years?
HEATHER WATSON: I don't know really. That's a tough question. Tennis is up and down, ebbs and flows. That's just sport in general. You can be playing really well but be losing matches, not play so well but be able to get through winning ugly.

Yeah, you just sort of, when you're on that wave, ride it, make the most of your opportunities. But there will always be ups and downs. But the goal is to have more ups than downs.

Q. How satisfying is it to come through after a sticky start and win when you haven't won at this level for a few months, you've been subjected to online nonsense? You're first up, 11:00 in the morning on a lush green court, come through. A lot of people couldn't come unstuck on the graveyard slot.
HEATHER WATSON: Like a week ago we were talking about how tough first match on the first day is. When I saw the schedule, I was really excited about it. I've been practicing at 11:00 most days, so I was used to playing at that time. I was well-prepared.

Especially if you win and you get over that first hurdle, it's a great feeling being the first one done.

Q. Are you less nervous coming here than you were as a 17-year-old when no one really knew much about it?
HEATHER WATSON: I think it's just the same. It hasn't changed at all. I think my excitement, my nerves, I can never sleep well. It's the same every year. I think that's great for me because it shows how much I wanted it then and how much I still want it now.

Q. You had to drop down a level to play some tournaments in Japan. Was that a difficult decision?
HEATHER WATSON: I love European season because I get to be home a lot in between, if things don't go as well. I'd had a terrible start to the year, barely won a match. I think it was really smart for me to go to Japan for three weeks and try and get some wins under my belt.

But that level is just still so high, such good quality, that after the first week, I'd lost first round. I thought, Oh, God, what a bad decision. But then I knew as soon as I won a match, it would just change in my head. I went on to win that tournament. That gave me real confidence coming into the grass court season.

Q. 10 years in then, what would you tell your 17-year-old self?
HEATHER WATSON: I always get asked these questions and I never know what to say. What would I tell her? I'd just say, Chill, it's all going to be fine.

Q. You spoke about nerves. Were you able to enjoy the second set after the battle of the first?
HEATHER WATSON: No, I didn't enjoy any of it, apart from after that last point was done.

But, yeah, really, really pleased with that last game. I was shaky on my serve at the beginning. In the last game I think I made most of my first serves. They were really good. Just pleased with how I closed it out, finished, stayed calm.

Q. You've always given us plenty of entertainment here in the doubles. What can we expect this Wimbledon?
HEATHER WATSON: I will be playing with Henry again in the mixed. I won't be playing with my usual partner, Tatiana, this year because she's had a bit of an injury. I will be playing with Mandy Minella. That will be fun.

Q. You mentioned being in Japan, thinking what a terrible decision. If you had to look at the whole span of your career, if you had to say one decision that was the best decision you've made, what would that be?
HEATHER WATSON: You mean with tournament schedule or...

Q. I mean in your career with so many decisions to make, whether it's coaching or focus or strokes, anything.
HEATHER WATSON: I think the most important for me is I'm not afraid to drop down levels and play ITFs to get those matches in. When I've dropped in the rankings a few times I've been able to drop to that level and win matches, regain my game and confidence.

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