Britain's involvement in the 2013 French Open over before the second round following defeat for Heather Watson

The British number two lost to Stefanie Voegele

Heather Watson was not complaining, but there could be little doubt that the last remaining British player in singles competition here at the French Open suffered as the result of one of the most frequently abused rules in tennis.

Watson had just levelled her first-round match by taking the second set against Stefanie Vögele when her Swiss opponent took a toilet break, as players are entitled to do. The momentum had been with Watson, but when the match resumed Vögele immediately broke serve and went on to win the match 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.

“Girls do it all the time,” Watson said afterwards when asked about the break. “It’s just the norm. Maybe she did need to go, but I should have been focused and ready for whatever.”

While Watson did not offer the interruption to her rhythm as an excuse, it was a twist she could have done without in her first match for more than two months following glandular fever. Nevertheless, the 21-year-old from Guernsey should be more than satisfied with her typically tenacious display at a time when she is clearly short of peak fitness and is having to go easy on her training. Against an opponent ranked just eight places lower than her at No 56 in the world, Watson gave as good as she got for nearly two hours. “I’m pleased with how I played in the second and third sets,” she said. “I was aggressive. I was hitting it.”

Watson coped well physically – “I’m not as fit as I should be, but I felt good, got through it fine” – though she suffered with an elbow problem which has troubled her in the past. She also admitted she had trouble maintaining her concentration. “I was finding it tough to string points together and focus on every single point,” she said. “My mind was wandering at certain times.”

Vögele won the first set thanks to a single break of serve in the fifth game. Watson took time to find her range, but quickly got on top in the second set, breaking Vögele three times with some impressively aggressive returns. The Briton had just played her best game of the day, breaking serve to level the match, when Vögele left the court for her toilet break. Asked later whether some players used the rule allowing such breaks as a form of gamesmanship, Watson said: “I think some girls definitely do that. They want to take a break and gather themselves, as well, and maybe try and slow their opponent’s rhythm. What can you do?”

If Watson had been in the same situation, might she have done the same? “I’m a fair player,” she said. “My elbow was hurting. I didn’t call a physio on the court because I knew there was nothing that could be done. I could have easily done that.” Had she ever felt the need to request a toilet break? “Never, because I always go to the toilet before I go on court.”

Having reached the second round here last year, Watson is likely to drop out of the world’s top 50 when the rankings are updated at the end of the tournament. She will be hoping to find her grass-court form quickly as she has a significant number of ranking points to defend at Wimbledon, where she reached the third round last year.

 



The defeat meant that there were no British victories in singles competition at Roland Garros for the first time since 2007, the last occasion Andy Murray did not play here.

Watson is still in the doubles and mixed competitions, but her compatriot, Laura Robson, withdrew from the women’s doubles because of a lower back injury. The British No 1 will seek medical advice in London and is hoping the injury will not affect her plans to play on grass at Edgbaston, Eastbourne and Wimbledon.

Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Life and Style
Martha Stewart wrote an opinion column for Time magazine this week titled “Why I Love My Drone”
lifeLifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot... to take photos of her farm
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
filmReview: Sometimes the immersive experience was so good it blurred the line between fiction and reality
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices