• WTA

Heather Watson diagnosed with glandular fever

ESPN staff
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Heather Watson has been playing through illness this year © Getty Images
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Heather Watson faces an unspecified break from tennis after being diagnosed with glandular fever.

Watson, who will lose her British No. 1 ranking to Laura Robson on Monday, has suffered a disappointing start to the year and threatened to take a break from the WTA circuit after defeat to Ayumi Morita in Miami.

"This year I've been going a bit too long so I'm a bit burnt out. I've been thinking about it for a while now and I'm definitely going to take a break from tennis," she said on March 19, having won only three matches since the Australian Open.

However, a day later Watson had a change of heart and had planned to play at Charleston's Family Circle Cup this week, saying on March 20: "Yesterday when I was speaking to the press I was very upset about my match and wasn't really thinking straight. I'm going to carry on with my schedule."

However, the decision has now been taken out of her hands after blood tests in Miami revealed traces of glandular fever, which causes the body to suffer from severe tiredness and exhaustion.

Watson said on the Lawn Tennis Association's (LTA) official website: "I had to do some blood tests after Miami and the results have shown that I have traces of glandular fever (mono) in my system. There is no prescription for this other than complete rest but the good news is that the doctors have told me I am at the tail end of the fever. This means I have been trying to compete through the symptoms for some time.

"I have been struggling with both training and playing matches and felt so tired and exhausted for months but now that the doctors have found the cause of this, it explains everything that has been happening to me physically and mentally. I am actually relieved to know what is wrong so that I can get myself on the mend.

"I hope to recover as soon as possible by resting my body and getting lots of sleep. I already feel better from being at home for a week, and am looking forward to getting back on Tour soon."

Iain Bates, LTA head of women's tennis, said: "First of all, get well soon Heather, from the whole team. We all know she'll bounce back better than ever. Heather's focus will be on her recovery, and we will do whatever we can to support Heather and help that process."

Watson will now be expected to miss Great Britain's Fed Cup tie in Argentina on April 20-21. Elena Baltacha, sidelined for eight months, could return to partner Laura Robson, with the squad to be named on April 10.

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