The £30,000 Progress Tour championships was intended to provide competition for Britain’s elite women players and emulate the success of the men’s Battle of the Brits which was played out a few weeks ago.
It’s such a shame. I was playing really well and was excited to compete again Heather Watson
The only blemish was the absence of the national number one, Johanna Konta, who declined her invitation to play in the showcase event which has now suffered further disappointment as Heather Watson and Harriet Dart both pulled out on the eve of the event in Roehampton.
The British No.2 and world No 50, Heather Watson, was the No 1 seed but an ankle injury forced her to withdraw on Monday afternoon as she joined the third seed and world No 146 Harriet Dart who is suffering from a groin strain.
With the improving veteran Samantha Murray Sharan (world 180) and the promising Naiktha Bains (world 223) also absent it leaves Katie Swan, the British No.6 world ranked 254 as the top seed.
Watson, who was in good form prior to the lockdown, explained: “I have a foot injury. It happened last week and has been getting worse. I have pain simply walking, so I won’t be playing at all for at least three days. It’s such a shame. I was playing really well and was excited to compete again.”
That disappointment was echoed by Dart. “I was looking forward to competing again but, after training today, I realised that I’m not quite ready, due to a groin issue. I’ll definitely be watching on TV.”
Katie Boulter and Swan, in opposing groups for the round robin stage, will be the two players to watch during the coming week.
Group Elena Baltacha
Group Anne Keothavong
Group Sam Smith
Group Annabel Croft