Wimbledon’s busiest tennis player

LONDON — Heather Watson on Friday she dropped to her knees in the middle of Court No. 1. She bowed her head to the ground and silently thanked the grass. She sensed the moment.

Watson just advanced to the fourth round at Wimbledon with a 7-6 (6), 6-2 victory over Kája Juvanová. The smile on her face as she stood up said it all.

“That means everything,” Watson told the audience moments later. “I’m playing here at home in front of you guys, the atmosphere is everything.

She paused as a fan yelled, “We love you Heather!”

“I love you too,” she replied. “Can you all come back for my fourth round?”

If her reaction seemed over the top at this point, consider this: This is the 30-year-old’s first career quarterfinal appearance.

And she did it with the wildest and most deranged plan possible.

Due to delays caused by darkness and rain, Watson has played singles on all five days of Wimbledon action so far. She started the first round match against Tamara Korpatschová on Monday night – a day earlier the event had stopped due to rain – before it was suspended due to darkness and had to be completed on Tuesday.

Then Watson’s second round match with Qiang Wang he suffered a similar fate on Wednesday night and was broken 7-5, 5-4. On Thursday, she needed just one match and eight minutes to punch her ticket to the third round.

Through it all, she coped with four hours of sleep, an excess of caffeine, limited late-night food options (only quiche was available on Wednesday nights)—and a complete lack of routine. But somehow the chaos worked in her favor and she achieved her career goal of reaching the second week of a Grand Slam.

“[This is] for the first time I’m going to enjoy this win because I feel like I was in focus mode all the time in the first two games. It was as if the match didn’t stop even when I left the club. It was suspended; I’m going to go to sleep or try to sleep,” Watson said Friday.

“It’s always been straight to the next one. So I feel like this win is very different from the others, not only because I’ve achieved one of my goals, but also because I’ve had a bit of time to absorb it.”

But there wasn’t really time for that on Friday. After making several media appearances after the win, Watson was scheduled to play a doubles partner in the first round Harriet Dart.

And her schedule is unlikely to get any less hectic in the coming days – Watson is also playing mixed doubles with Ken Skupskiand are expected to play on Saturday.

Watson has long been a British favorite at Wimbledon and won the mixed doubles title at the event in 2016. Now on his 12th appearance at the All England Club, he will have the opportunity to extend his singles stay and reach the quarter-finals on Sunday against Jules Niemeierwho surprised the No. 2 seed Anett Kontaveit in the second round.

The two played in Monterrey earlier this year, with Watson winning in three sets. But with so much tennis to play first, Watson hasn’t started thinking about that yet. She didn’t even know she was playing Niemeier until a reporter informed her.

“It never ends,” Watson said. “A lot of tennis, but that’s a good thing. I’m just making sure I’m taking care of myself. I’m kind of in the moment right now, not thinking ahead, not thinking back.”

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