Besides doing overviews of WTA fashion, off-season is the perfect time to add to our series dedicated to photos of tennis players as kids. Here’s a childhood photos feature of one of the brightest WTA newcomers of the season.
It’s not hard to recognize the little cutie, as even today she’s only 20 years old – it’s Heather Watson, British No.1 in both singles and doubles. The 2012 season was especially significant for the young star. She participated in the London Olympics and won Osaka, giving her country the first WTA title in 24 years (the last time a Brit won a WTA title was in 1988, four years before Watson was born!).
Watson is from Guernsey, the Channel Islands, and in pursue of a big dream and realization of her potential, the current world No.49 left home at the age of 12 to train at Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida, USA. Her family is no stranger to relocation, though. Heather’s mother Michelle is from Papua New Guinea where she met Heather’s father, Manchester-born Englishman Ian, who was there for work in the capital Port Moresby. The couple moved to the Channel Islands, where Ian worked for the Guernsey Electricity Board.
Thanks to Marine of Tennis Notebook I learned about the below video, where you can see footage of 12-year-old Watson, just in time when she was leaving home to go to the States. You can see her parents talking about their decision to send her overseas and the leaving party.
Heather started playing tennis at the age of seven. In 2009 she won the US Open title as a junior, in 2010 she turned pro, 2011 was her first Top 100 season, while this has been her breakthrough year. Heather’s islanders are embracing her success and in October she was welcomed in a special reception hosted by Bailiff Richard Collas. In addition, red carpet events are going to be there more and more – over the weekend the promising WTA star put on a little black dress and attended a music awards ceremony in Liverpool. (source: Daily Mail)