Heather Watson is encouraged by Andy Murray as she advances to the Birmingham quarter-finals.

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Heather Watson is encouraged by Andy Murray as she advances to the Birmingham quarter-finals.

Heather Watson believes Andy Murray has encouraged her after reaching the quarter-finals of the Viking Classic in Birmingham.

The British number two was leading Zhang Shuai 5-2 in the opening set when the Chinese player, who had lost to Johanna Konta in the Nottingham Open final the week before, retired due to a leg injury.

Watson, who had a terrible year leading up to the grass-court season, spent a lot of time with Murray at the National Tennis Centre in London recently and was happy to see him make his latest comeback at Queen’s on Tuesday.

She stated, “He is someone who works so hard and puts in the hard yards, the blood, sweat, and tears, and he is a tremendous inspiration to all of the British tennis players that train at the National Tennis Centre and witness him.”

“I’m thrilled for him that he was able to play his match at Queens and, more importantly, that he won. I’ve seen him a lot at the gym; every day before we go to training, we park next to each other.

“He really loves it so much that he spends his entire day playing tennis, tennis, tennis.”

Watson, who will face Croatian Donna Vekic in the quarterfinals, didn’t have to put in a lot of effort against Zhang in Birmingham because it was evident early on that she was hurt.

“I could tell she wasn’t moving quite right from the first game, so I knew her leg was bandaged and that was troubling her,” she continued.

“I sincerely hope she is fine for her next competition because she is such a nice, beautiful girl. She is a delight to be around, and I hope she is well.

“I knew she wasn’t moving like she usually does, so I just concentrated on my serves and returns, and I hit them better than I have in a long time.

“It’s difficult, but you just have to act like she’s 100 percent. From my point of view. (This is a brief piece.)

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