Photo: Nir KeidarHeather Watson (GBR)
Great Britain’s Heather Watson has been handed a place in the women’s singles at London 2012 following the news that Alona Bondarenko of Ukraine has been forced to withdraw through injury.
Bondarenko was also scheduled to play in the doubles with her younger sister Kateryna after the pair were granted an ITF Place, but they have had to pull out of the event. Their replacements will be announced in due course.
Watson, who is already set to make her Olympic debut in the doubles with teenager Laura Robson, becomes the third British player in the women’s singles alongside Elena Baltacha and Anne Keothavong.
That number could increase to four players because Robson, the world No. 91, is next on the alternate list if anyone else pulls out between now and the start of the Olympic Tennis Event on Saturday.
Watson, a former US Open junior champion, is in the form of her life at the moment and will be full of confidence as she approaches this Olympics on home soil.
The 20-year-old reached the third round at Wimbledon a few weeks ago before bowing out against eventual runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska. She defeated Iveta Benesova and Jamie Hampton in the opening rounds to claim her first singles wins at The Championships.
That run at Wimbledon helped the Guernsey native jump to a career high ranking of No. 71 in the latest WTA ranking list, and it came just in time for the Olympics because it put her at the top of the alternate list to replace the next player to withdraw, which was Bondarenko.
The rules for replacing players at the Olympic Tennis Event changed over on Friday night at midnight. Since this time, any replacement must already be on-site and entered into another event to qualify.
In this case, Watson was already playing in the doubles and, at No. 71, was the next highest ranked singles player. Before midnight on Friday, players who were not already competing at the Olympics could still be drafted in.