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Page last updated at 11:03 GMT, Thursday, 29 January 2009

Watson's father criticises Open

Heather Watson takes shelter
Watson puts an ice-pack on her neck as she shelters from the heat

The father of Guernsey's Heather Watson has criticised the organisers of the Australian Open for making his daughter play in the searing heat in Melbourne.

Ian Watson said he could not believe his 16-year-old daughter had to play in heat which rose above 40C.

"I find in tournaments the world over that particularly the juniors are very well protected," he told BBC Guernsey.

"It's surprising that in Australia Heather's been playing long matches in 40 degrees plus on some occasions."

He added: "I was a bit disturbed to see that she saw black spots in front of her eyes during one match.

"She was totally exhausted. They had to stop for a 10 minute break and she could feel the heat coming through the soles of her shoes."

And Watson could not believe his daughter was not given longer between her third round and quarter-final matches.

"The worst thing was she played a three-set match, which was the only match on 18-plus courts going on in that searing heat, and then the same happened to her a day after in the quarter-finals," he said.

But he said the experience will stand world junior number 13 Heather in good stead as she bids to continue climbing the world rankings.

"I trust there's no long term damage to Heather but the plus side is that I think it gave her the opportunity to show us all what good fighting spirit she's got," he added.

"I do have the feeling with her these days that she's got great belief and that if anybody beats her they've really got to beat her because she's going to fight to the end and I think that's proved itself in Australia more than ever."

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see also
Watson aims for semi-final spot
28 Jan 09 |  Tennis
Watson cruises into third round
27 Jan 09 |  Tennis
Watson starts well in Australia
25 Jan 09 |  Tennis
Watson given Australian seeding
30 Dec 08 |  Tennis

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