Hobbled Heather Watson set for late call on Emma Raducanu clash

Heather Watson in action

Heather Watson will decide whether to defy doctors’ orders and continue her Rothesay Open campaign in Nottingham with a possible second-round match against Emma Raducanu.

The 30-year-old suffered a hamstring injury in her first-round clash with American Katie Volynets but did not listen to medical advice and carried on to record a 6-4 6-2 win.

Watson will play US Open champion Raducanu if the British number one can beat Viktorija Golubic on Tuesday, but she does not know whether she will be fit enough to compete.

“It doesn’t matter who I am playing, I have just got to do what is best for me and the rest of this grass-court season because it is my favourite time of the year. Favourite doesn’t even do it justice,” she said.

“I have to be smart. If it was any other tournament, apart from a grand slam, I would have called it because you know it’s not going to get better just like that.

“When the physio came on she didn’t want me to continue, but it’s the grass-court season, my favourite season of the year. I had to give it a try at least.

“Even now I am being advised not to play because I could miss the rest of the grass season and I am not someone who gets injured a lot so this is extra frustrating.

“I have to be smart but I am going to play it by ear, I am not going to make a decision yet.

“I have got at least a day and then I will see how I am recovering. I know from experience my body heals quite quickly. Also I don’t usually get injured.”

An all-British tie in the second round would whet the appetite of the home crowd in the opening tournament of the British summer.

Watson, who has been around Raducanu through the teenager’s development, is enjoying watching her meteoric rise.

“It is such a unique situation,” Watson added.

Watson could face British number one Emma Raducanu in the second round
Watson could face British number one Emma Raducanu in the second round (Tim Goode/PA)

“What she has done has never been done before. It’s new to everyone and it’s such an interesting story. Everyone is just looking forward to following her journey.

“When you do what she has done there is a lot of expectation, especially from this country. But I think she is doing really well, considering, and I definitely look forward to following her journey.

“I definitely saw her being a really good WTA Tour player, top 100 for sure, but I never expected it to go that quickly within one tournament, it’s amazing.”

There was more British success on the opening day of the tournament as Harriet Dart beat 2017 champion Donna Vekic.

Harriet Dart celebrates victory over Croatia's Donna Vekic at Nottingham
Harriet Dart celebrates victory over Croatia’s Donna Vekic at Nottingham (Tim Goode/PA)

The British number three, who has slipped out of the top 100 after a poor clay-court campaign, triumphed 6-4 6-3.

She said: “I have definitely made strides in the right direction. I have had a rough patch but I am hoping to get back to my best.

“I have had a difficult season. Clay is not my best surface – something I hope to improve on in the coming years. I know I can play a really good level on grass. I’ve had some good results, it doesn’t take very much to swing a match and get some confidence and (Monday) has given me some confidence.

“I knew I had to bring my A-game and I felt in patches I played really well.”