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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
News
Lizards, such as Iguanas (pictured), have a unique pattern of tissue growth
science
Extras
indybest
News
Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental overdose in 2007
people
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tvReview: Bread-making skills of the Bake Off hopefuls put to the test
Extras
indybest
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.

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home