Heather Watson’s neighbours this week might have to brace themselves for some noisy nights. The British No 1 has had trouble sleeping recently but found a solution which helped her to win the Prague Open last month.
“I started dancing, choreographing my own dance in front of the mirror,” Watson said. “I just had my songs on shuffle on iTunes. It did the trick. I was exhausted. I had to take a shower before I went to bed.
“Before last year, when I had glandular fever and had sleeping problems, I used to sleep so well, like 10 hours a night every night, and I’d never wake up. Now I’m awake half the night the whole time.
“I’ve tried everything there is going. I tried eating chicken because apparently if you eat chicken before bed that helps you sleep. If you drink some milk, listen to sounds, read a book. But if I’m going to sleep, I’ll sleep. If I’m not, I’m not. It’s just how my body works. I can’t switch my mind off.”
Watson admitted that tennis matters were often on her mind as she struggled for sleep. “It’s because of the pressure I put on myself because I really want to get that breakthrough to the next level and get to that second week [of a Grand Slam tournament],” she said.
“One of my goals for this year is to make the second week of a Grand Slam. Wimbledon is already the third of four so I’m hoping for that.”
The sleepless nights notwithstanding, Watson has made a spirited comeback after her illness. Only four months ago she was ranked No 161 in the world, but when the rankings are updated today she could be on the verge of going back into the world’s top 60 thanks to her run to the semi-finals at last week’s Aegon International in Eastbourne. “One of my goals was to reach the top 70 by the end of May and when the rankings came out on 2 June I was No 69,” she said.
Another target was to be high enough in the rankings to earn a place in the main draw at Wimbledon. Watson, who faces a tricky first-round draw here against Croatia’s Ajla Tomljanovic, achieved that last month and was so proud that she tweeted a picture of the player entry list.
“I was the last one on that list,” she said. “That’s so important because I don’t want to have to rely on anyone else or a wild card. I want to get it on my own for myself and show that I do deserve to be there.”