“MY husband Ian and I are very proud of our daughter Heather Miriam Watson!”
These were the first words of Papua New Guinea-born mother Michelle to The National when contacted by email on Tuesday following Heather Watson’s first Grand Slam win – the US Open Junior Girls title at Flushing Meadows, New York.
“Heather has been playing tennis from about seven years old with us at home in the Island of Guernsey where we live.
“She left home at 12 to go to a tennis boarding school in the Florida, USA.
“She combines four hours of tennis and four hours of school five days a week.
“In the summer holidays, she comes back home for a few weeks break and plays European tournaments,” Mrs Watson said by email.
Michelle Watson, who was born in Maprik, East Sepik province, where all her family still live, said about 18 months ago she left her job to travel with her daughter fulltime as she was then 15 and travelling over the world junior circuit.
“She is in now in her last year of High School and will graduate next year.
“She is 17 years old and this is her first Grand Slam win.
“She was a runner-up at the French Open girls doubles with a Hungarian partner this year.
“She did get to the singles quarter-finals of the Australian Open Juniors in Melbourne in January this year where she lost to the eventual champion in two close sets.
“She didn’t play so well at Wimbledon and lost in the first round so she was determined to do well on the hard courts of USA.
Michelle met her husband, Ian Watson, who is from Manchester, England, when both were working for Steamships in Port Moresby in 1988.
He returned to the UK in 1990 and she joined him soon after and they lived in Chester before moving in 1992 to Guernsey in the Channel Islands and Heather was born in May of that year.
“Ian and I play all racquet sports socially and when we lived in (Port ) Moresby we played squash and a bit of tennis at the Aviat.
“Heather excelled at all sports at school but was particulary good at racquet sports.
“She concentrated on tennis at around nine and stopped squash and badminton.”
“She did carry on with her other sports of swimming, athletics, netball and all her dancing (ballet, tap, modern and jazz) until she moved to boarding school,” her proud mother said.