Watson hit a career high singles ranking of 39 in February, but was subsequently struck down by glandular fever as well as leg and back injuries and fell 53 places to 92nd.
However, Bates is confident Watson’s fortunes will change. “She needs to have a good off-season and come out firing and I have absolutely no doubt that she can come back stronger than before,” he said. “I told her last week, ‘you don’t get to 40 in the world without some serious game’. It was no fluke and she can reach that, and go higher, again in the future.
“Her game is all about movement, her foot speed, and her strength of mind, and they were taken away from her by the illness. Plus, she was then having to worry about defending points for the first time in her life.
“It’s all new and the only way you can learn how to deal with it is by going through it,” Bates added.