Wednesday 25 April 2018

Heather Watson: I won't let death threats wreck my chances at Wimbledon

Heather Watson celebrates beating Caroline Garcia in the First round women's singles on day two of the Wimbledon Championships
Heather Watson celebrates beating Caroline Garcia in the First round women's singles on day two of the Wimbledon Championships

Victoria Ward

Heather Watson, the British number one, has revealed that both she and her family have received death threats.

The tennis player, who is back on court at Wimbledon today, said she had come to accept the online abuse.

“Oh, I’ve had death threats,” she told the New York Times.

“I’ve had people threatening to kill me and kill my family, wishing that I get cancer and die a slow, painful death. Horrible words I couldn’t even think up in my head, to be that mean.”

Watson, 23, has insisted that she will not let Twitter trolls wreck her chances of making it through to the third round at SW19 for the first time.

She has said that she is only targeted when she loses her matches and has had so many awful messages that she had learnt to ignore them.

"I think at the beginning when I would see mean, hurtful messages, it would really hurt my feelings because I wasn’t used to it. I wouldn’t remember any of the good comments, I’d just remember that one bad one,” she said.

"I’ve had so many now that it doesn’t mean anything to me. I don’t want to get too involved in other people’s opinions and thoughts of me because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter.”

Watson is unlikely to have had too much negative attention over the last few days, having become one of just five British players, and the only woman, to make it to the second round at Wimbledon.

She is due to take on Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova later on Wednesday afternoon on Court No.1.

The other Briton in action today is Liam Broady, who will make his first ever appearance on a show court when he takes on Belgium's David Goffin on Court No.3.

Broady, 21, from Stockport, said he has nothing to lose, having never even qualified for the singles tournament before.

"I don’t know if he’s known me for years, but I’ve known Goffin for years,” he said.

"I saw him play when I was about 15. I think I’ll be comfortable going on court with him. It’s not like I’m stepping on court with Novak Djokovic.

"It’s a reward. I’ve got nothing to lose. He’s got everything to lose in a sense, so I’ll see what happens.”

One thing that might make the challenge tougher than normal is the weather.

Temperatures are forecast to reach 32C on what is expected to be the hottest day of the year so far.

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