Johanna Konta in R1 of the Australian Open 2018
Johanna Konta in R1 of the Australian Open 2018 (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Konta: ‘No substitute for match confidence except volume of matches’ | What next for the British No. 1

By Ros Satar, in Melbourne

  • Johanna Konta was stunned in straight sets in the Australian Open second round, beaten by Bernarda Pera 6-4 7-5.
  • Remained pragmatic as she looks ahead to the season and gaining in confidence with more matches
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Johanna Konta faced her shock loss in the second round of the Australian Open with a healthy dose of pragmatism as we look to what the rest of the year might hold.


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The Asia-Pacific Swing

At a start of a season already beset with injury woes across both tours, it had been encouraging to see British No. 1, Johanna Konta get back to winning ways. She snapped a five-match losing streak in style by beating Madison Keys in her Brisbane opener and got some solid wins under her belt before retiring with a hip injury scare.

Her Sydney defence was short-lived but such is the depth of the tour, last year’s final line-up was this year’s opening round as she lost to Agnieszka Radwanska. It had been such a blistering demonstration against Madison Brengle, that the sight of break points against her in the first game, not to mention barely registering a first serve, and a couple of double faults raised a few eyebrows.

Full credit to Pera – she had the belief in her game, had nothing to lose having never made a Grand Slam main draw round before, much less winning one, or two for that matter. To try and put things into context, Konta gave up the fight for the final berth at the WTA Finals for the second time in a row after a foot injury cut short her season.

She joked in her pre-tournament press that we had all focussed on the wins in Brisbane, but ignored her win over Jelena Ostapenko at the Hua Hin exhibition in Thailand. She lost her first match to Simona Halep, but beat the French Open champion and although she said it with a smile, there was maybe a hint of truth:

“I did win a match before, though, in Thailand, so… No one remembers that one (smiling). It meant a lot to me, though.”

Rankings points to defend

We are at the start of the season and konta has always made it clear that her performance is seen in the context of the season and not just one point in time. There were big points to defend here, and indeed in the first half of the year – but she remained pragmatic about the, dare we say it, process.

“The rankings reflect a player’s consistency and how well they are able to come in week in, week out, and play at that level. But it doesn’t guarantee that level every single day, and there is a lot of things at play.

“I think players come out to play inspired, as they should. I mean, I think I did the same. I do the same.

“I think there is always a psychology and a kind of feeling to every match that you play, and that kind of differs with the circumstances.”

Getting that match-confidence

So how did she feel about the level of confidence, and how that will or should develop?

She continued: “There is no substitute. I think you obviously look to keep improving your game and your physicality through training, but to being match fit and having that feel in points and feel in the way match flows and kind of that almost not thinking about kind of belief in, you know, what you do in certain points, that comes with matches. That comes with volume of matches.”

Although disappointed to be going home early – she is right – it is important not to ‘catastrophise’ what happened here, but there is hope that Michael Joyce will bring a balance to her game as she looks to defend some big points in the run up to Wimbledon.

Konta will represent Great Britain in the Fed Cup, before heading to Doha, in February.


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