It was confirmed on Monday (16 July 2012) that Heather Watson has become the new British Number One player with her new ranking of 71. She moves ahead of Anne Keothavong now ranked 76. Laura Robson is now ranked 91, and Elena Baltacha is ranked 100.
It is a worthy reward for 20-year-old Watson who has been making excellent recent progress. We have known for a while now that Watson and Robson are the future of British tennis. But it appears their time may come quicker than we thought.
Heather will feel that she has finally made the breakthrough to professional tennis and is well on her way to becoming a top player. This was further emphasised by her first WTA title with a doubles victory in the USA.
This is something that is surely a good sign ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games where Watson will team-up with Robson for the doubles; however, it is a shame that the highest ranked British player will not be competing as a singles player.
I wonder if the Team GB selectors feel it is the right decision to deny Heather of this opportunity given her new ranking. It can be argued that the decision was made before the new ranking was known.
But it should also be noted that Heather's ability has been known about for some time. And experts on tennis knew it was only a matter of time before she became the new British number one. Especially given the progress she made during the 2012 French Open and Wimbledon 2012.
At both of these tournaments, she proved to be the best performing British female. However, it could be argued that it would have been a lot of pressure to put on her at a young age. Nevertheless, everything we see from her suggests she is more than capable of handing it.
All things considered she should get an opportunity in the next Olympics, and will be able to use the experience from the doubles event in four years time. But with the Olympics being in London, it is a shame she won't get an opportunity in the singles event.
In my opinion, it makes more sense to pick the players on an upward curve than those on the down. Watson is certainly a player with a big future and will look to make more progress at the 2012 US Open.
- Sports & Recreation
- Heather Watson
- Laura Robson
- Anne Keothavong
- Elena Baltacha