Johanna Konta Targets Redemption On The Grass
After her French Open disappointment, the former top-five player is hoping to get back on track.
This year’s grass swing of the tour will be crucial for many players, but even more so for British No.1 Johanna Konta.
The 27-year-old has experienced a roller coaster first half of the year. On the tour, she has only managed to win back-to-back matches in four out of 11 tournaments played prior to this week. Her latest disappointment occurred at the French Open. A tournament that has brought nothing but misery for Konta over the years. In the first round she crashed out to Yulia Putintseva before hitting out at the British media over how they portray her.
Konta is aiming to turn her fortunes around on the grass. This week she is the fourth seed at the Nottingham International, which is a WTA International event. She kick-started her campaign on Tuesday with a 6-2, 6-3, win over Japan’s Kurumi Nara. Scoring her 12th victory of the season (excluding the Fed Cup).
“I’m definitely really pleased that I won my first match on grass,” Konta said afterwards. “I really wanted to make sure that I competed during every single point, regardless of how I played level-wise. I wanted to make sure I was competitive from the first to the last ball, and I think that’s what I did.”
Regardless of the positive start, the former world No.4 is aware that her form is at a different stage compared to that of 12 months ago. Heading into the 2017 grass swing, Konta already had two titles under her belt. It was also during that year where she reached the semifinals at Wimbledon. Becoming the first British woman to do so since Virginia Wade in 1978.
“I’m coming into this period with different challenges than I was last year. Last year coming into this period I had a lot of matches under my belt, a lot more matches than this year and a lot more wins than this year as well, so I think the challenges are slightly different,” Konta explained during an interview with Sky Sports.
The lacklustre season has had little impact on Konta’s goals for the ultimate grass court event – Wimbledon. This year is set to be her seventh consecutive appearance in the main draw.
“I want to be there for the full two weeks. I would absolutely really want to be there for the full two weeks.” She stated.
“Most importantly to keep working hard, keeping fighting. I’m enjoying that feeling of just going there and fighting my way through every round that I get a chance to play.”
Prior to the grand slam, Konta’s immediate focus remains on Nottingham. In the second round she will take on fellow Brit Heather Watson. A win would elevate her into only her second WTA quarter-final of the season and her first since January.