Voices Of The Future -- British Tennis Star Heather Watson Is Driven To Be No. 1
When Heather Watson was 12 years old, she boarded a plane in her native Great Britain bound for the United States. She wasn't going for holiday or a sightseeing trip. She was taking the first big step toward her ultimate goal of becoming the No. 1 tennis player in the world.
Although Bradenton, Florida, was a long way from where Watson first picked up a tennis racket in the town of St. Peter Port, Guernsey, it was a homecoming for the tennis-obsessed youngster. Watson trained and went to school at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, a hot bed for tennis talent.
"I was nothing but excited to go," Watson said. "I was really looking forward to the future."
Now 23, Watson is the top-ranked player in Great Britain and has two WTA Tour titles to her name, though she's still looking to the future in some ways.
"I'm not where I want to be in the world rankings," she said recently after a disappointing first-round loss at the US Open. "I feel like I'm not achieving what I should be achieving right now and that frustrates me."
Watson's highest world ranking as a professional was No. 38 in January. She now sits at No. 56.
Earlier this year, Watson had an impressive showing at Wimbledon, reaching the third round, where she faced Serena Williams. She gave the eventual champion quite a challenge over three sets, gaining confidence from the experience of going toe-to-toe with the world's best.
I'm working on staying aggressive in my game and fixing all the little details. I'm trying to be a complete player and have every shot in the game.Heather Watson
"I've learned that I can compete at the top level," Watson said. "Next time, I'll take a lot more risks to finish the match."
She's also striving to become more consistent as a player.
"I'm working on staying aggressive in my game and fixing all the little details," she said. "I'm trying to be a complete player and have every shot in the game."
But her commitment to improving extends beyond the lines of the tennis court. She puts an emphasis on getting enough sleep each day, eating healthy -- fried foods are her weakness -- and staying steady in her training.
"You don't just have to be skilled and talented at tennis, but you have to be so physically strong," she said.
One thing that has never wavered in Watson's young career is her passion for the game she plays.
"I love tennis. I always have," she said. "Even if I wasn't a professional now, I'm sure I'd still be playing tennis."
As her professional career continues, Watson's daily motivation remains the same as it was when she moved away from her family and across the Atlantic 11 years ago: "Ever since I was little, its always to be No. 1 in the world and that's the goal I'll always strive for."