Konta ready to lead British charge at Wimbledon

Konta ready to lead British charge at Wimbledon

30 June 2019 / 10:40
Back on the green, green grass of home, Johanna Konta insists she is ready for the challenge of flying the flag at Wimbledon.

Two years ago Konta arrived at the All England Club brimming with confidence, after claiming the biggest title of her career at the Miami Open.

In the days that followed, that self-belief soared as she became the first British woman to reach the semi-finals, where she was eventually beaten by Venus Williams, since Virginia Wade in 1978.

She left these manicured lawns with a world ranking of four but then struggled for form, winning two matches on green last year, with a second round defeat at SW19.

Fast forward another 12 months and the confidence is back after a clay court season that saw her reach the Italian Open final and the last four at Roland Garros, sending Konta soaring back up the rankings.

Her performances in Paris, the best by a British woman since Jo Durie in 1983, meant she withdrew from Nottingham, a tournament she has won twice, and she didn’t reach the latter stages in Birmingham or Eastbourne.

But she insists there are no worries about her preparation.

“It's always a very short turnaround between clay and grass, especially if you have a good clay-court season, it becomes shorter, which is a great problem, I guess,” she said.

"I played five really great matches on the surface. I think I'm as prepared as I'm going to be here. I feel pretty good."

Johanna Konta

Konta insists she feels no pressure about being the focus on the home support, with Andy Murray sitting out a second Wimbledon to focus on doubles as he continues his return from injury.

“I’m neither Tim Henman nor Andy Murray,” she added. “I play to do the best I can, so what I will achieve will be what I will achieve. If I were to retire tomorrow then I've got a tremendous amount to be proud of that I've achieved in my career.

“I'm still playing and I'm looking to keep getting better and to keep putting myself in positions to achieve something great results-wise.”

Konta plays Romanian qualifier Ana Bogdan, ranked 134, in her first round match, an opponent she beat in their only previous encounter.  But the British women’s number one could face ninth seed Sloane Stephens in the third round.

"I think what we've seen so many times is players can play very inspired tennis. Especially a slam, Wimbledon lends itself for inspired tennis,” added Konta. "She moves well. She retrieves the ball well. She's able to play great tennis. It will be a tough match."

British men’s number one Kyle Edmund beat fellow Brits Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans on his way to the final four at Eastbourne this week, only to lose to big-serving American Taylor Fritz in the final four.

Last year he reached the third round at Wimbledon for the first time, losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in four sets, and he faces Spain’s Jaume Munar on Tuesday.

“I know I have the game for Wimbledon,” said the number 30 seed. “There's a point where you really have to start believing it if you want to do it and I've really started to believe it over the last few years."

When are the Brits in action at Wimbledon 2019?

Monday July 1st - Men’s Singles: Kyle Edmund v Jaume Munar (Spain), Women’s Singles: Heather Watson v Caty McNally (USA)

Tuesday July 2nd -  Men’s Singles: Paul Jubb v Joao Sousa (Portugal), Daniel Evans v Federico Delbonis (Argentina), James Ward v Nikoloz Basilashvili (Georgia), Cameron Norrie v Denis Istomin (Uzebekistan), Jay Clarke v Noah Rubin (USA), Women’s Singles: Harriet Dart v Christina McHale (USA),  Katie Swan v Laura Siegemund (Ger),  Jo Konta v Ana Bogdan (Rom)

Sportsbeat 2019