British tennis star Heather Watson has vowed never to date another player again after two cross-court romances ended in heartbreak.
Speaking exclusively to You magazine, the British No 2 reflects on the painful split with former boyfriend and tennis pro Lloyd Glasspool last year after their ‘passionate and intense’ two-year affair.
Asked if she would date another player, she said emphatically: ‘Hell, no! It’s just too tough. I would never mix business with pleasure again.’
The 27-year-old says the fact that Lloyd was also in the game took its toll, with their busy schedules meaning they had to be content with ‘lots of FaceTiming’.
She admits: ‘We blew hot and cold, we ended up arguing a lot and I guess we both put our careers first. We didn’t talk for a while. I had to get him out of my system.’
At a recent chance meeting with her ex, ‘we got on like a house on fire, which was annoying, but we’re over and we’ve got to move on’.
She also spoke of the heartbreak at the end of her first serious relationship, which was with junior tennis player turned banker Phil Stephens in 2015.
‘Breaking up was so hard that I didn’t think I would survive,’ she said. ‘Something so painful happened that I had to end it and it took me nearly a year to get over him. I don’t really want to go into it.’
Now single again, she recently went on a date with someone she met online but found there was no spark. ‘I’m only interested if there’s chemistry,’ she said.
‘I’m a romantic, I want the real deal.’
But if that ‘real deal’ blossoms, she doesn’t intend to mix playing with motherhood.
She said: ‘If I have a child I want to give them everything, and it’s really hard being a tennis player and a mother.’
But that is yet to come. For now, she says, ‘I want go out, do my thing, party and play some great tennis’.
On a more sinister note, Heather, whose mother Michelle is from Papua New Guinea, spoke of receiving racist abuse and death threats on social media.
‘I’ve been called a monkey and told to go back to the zoo,’ she said, ‘That hurt. It’s just so disappointing and sad. It’s usually when I lose and mostly from men who gambled on me to win. They pick on my race. I’ve had a handful of death threats.’
But she says the sport’s governing body and the police takes them seriously, adding: ‘Someone was arrested a couple of days ago for sending hateful messages.’