Wimbledon 2015 - Nick Bollettieri: What I texted my old pupil Heather Watson afterwards


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Watching Heather Watson go so close against Serena Williams, the best woman tennis player in the world, I felt so proud of the girl who first came to my academy at the age of 12.

I sent her a text which said, “You performed brilliantly and even though you didn’t win by score, you won by effort and gained respect from the entire tennis world. This clearly shows you have the goods to play with the best of them and I’m sure this match will give you the confidence to do so.”

That is one of the things she needs now: confidence. She has to add a little bit more to her game, which I hope she will do by attacking. I don’t want Heather Watson staying back at the baseline – that won’t get her any higher than she is now. She’s a good doubles player, a good volleyer and she can play offensively. I don’t believe she can win big titles from the baseline.

In the modern game that applies to any great champion. After Dustin Brown pulled off that great win over Rafael Nadal, there was a lot of talk about serve-and-volley. But any player who limits himself to one strategy like that is asking for trouble. I watched Brown lose yesterday, and saw how many passing winners Viktor Troicki was able to hit him with. If it’s not working, you’ve got to be able to try something else.

The sympathy I had for Brown was to be foot-faulted in what turned out to be the last game of the match. I heard John McEnroe commentating on that so calmly and what I wanted to know was what John would have done in that situation. He’d have wrecked the joint! 

 Overall, it was a real good first week at Wimbledon and I’m already looking forward to manic Monday and all those fourth-round match-ups, especially Serena against Venus. I’ll look in more detail at that match in The Independent, i  and on the website tomorrow.

Finally, a word to all you Sunday players who will be going out for a hit today: you ain’t Federer and you ain’t Serena – or should I say Heather. Be realistic. But enjoy it!