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 & Entertainment
Shaun Evans as Endeavour interviews a prisoner as he tries to get to the bottom of a police cover up
tvReview: Second series comes to close with startling tale of police corruption and child abuse
Arts & Entertainment
A stranger calls: Martin Freeman in ‘Fargo’
Review: New 10-part series brims with characters and stories

Arts & Entertainment
Schwarzenegger winning Mr. Universe 1969
arts + entsCan you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
Sport
Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez celebrate during Liverpool's game with Norwich
football Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
VIDEO
Arts & Entertainment
The star of the sitcom ‘Miranda’ is hugely popular with mainstream audiences
TVMiranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
News
Portrait of Queen Elizabeth-II by David Bailey which has been released to mark her 88th birthday
peoplePortrait released to mark monarch's 88th birthday
Life & Style
The writer, Gerda Saunders, with her mother, who also suffered with dementia before her death
healthGerda Saunders on the most formidable effect of her dementia
Sport
Manchester United manager David Moyes looks on during his side's defeat to Everton
footballBaines and Mirallas score against United as Everton keep alive hopes of a top-four finish
Sport
Tour de France 2014Sir Rodney Walker on organising the UK stages of this year’s race
Arts & Entertainment
Jessica Brown Findlay as Mary Yellan in ‘Jamaica Inn’
TVJessica Brown Findlay on playing the spirited heroine of Jamaica Inn
News
YouTube clocks up more than a billion users a month
mediaEuropean rival Dailymotion certainly thinks so
Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents The ad shows Prince Charles attired for his coronation in a crown and fur mantle with his mouth covered by a criss-cross of white duct tape
Arts & Entertainment
‘Self-Portrait Worshipping Christ’ (c943-57) by St Dunstan
books How British artists perfected the art of the self-portrait
Sport
Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring in Liverpool's 3-2 win over Norwich
Football Vine shows Suarez writhing in pain before launching counter attack
News
People White House officials refuse to make comment on 275,000 signatures that want Justin Bieber's US visa revoked
News
Sir Cliff Richard is to release his hundredth album at age 72
PEOPLE
Sport
Lukas Podolski celebrates one of his two goals in Arsenal's win over Hull
football
Arts & Entertainment
Quentin Tarantino, director
film
News
The speeding train nearly hit this US politican during a lecture on rail safety
news As the saying goes, you have to practice what you preach
Sport
Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain (front) drives ahead of Red Bull Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia during the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International circuit
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Billie Jean King, who won the women’s Wimbledon title in 1967, when the first colour pictures were broadcast
tv
News
Snow has no plans to step back or reduce his workload
mediaIt's 25 years since Jon Snow first presented Channel 4 News, and his drive shows no sign of diminishing
Life & Style
food + drinkWhat’s not to like?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit