It has been a year to remember for the British Tennis fans. With the exceptional year the World No.2 Andy Murray has had, and the rise of young guns like Kyle Edmund, British Tennis seems to be heading in the right direction. However, the breakthrough of Johanna Konta on the Women’s tour has been the hottest news in the past few weeks.
Johanna earlier this year became the first female British player in 33 years to reach the semifinals of a Grand Slam, the Australian Open. And now, she continues to break barriers by becoming the first female British player to break into the Top 10 since Jo Durie in 1984. Her progress has been remarkable, given that she ranked World No. 146 just 17 months ago. And she continues to meet expectations, with consistent performances, and deep runs at nearly every tournament she plays. Let’s get to know more about Johanna.
Johanna was born in Sydney to Hungarian parents. Her father was in the hotel business and her mother a dentist. She started playing tennis at the young age of 8 years, and when she was 14, started practicing in Barcelona. Since her parents moved to England during this time, she became a British citizen in 2012 and switched her allegiance to Great Britain from Australia.
Johanna’s rise has been rather meteoric, to say the least. By making the top 50 last year, to winning her first title this July, Johanna is certainly the breakthrough story of the season. Having been extremely successful on the ITF circuit, she was destined to make waves in the WTA circuit. However, crumbling under pressure and a few wayward performances here and there caused the talented 25-year-old to succumb on the big stage.
Yet, she has worked her way towards improvement. With the help of Juan Coto, her mental coach, Konta has worked hard towards the mental aspect of her game, long considered her biggest weakness.
Timeline of WTA Career
Konta’s first Grand Slam appearance came in a tough first round loss in the Wimbledon 2012, where she bowed out to Christina McHale in a tight three setter. For about three years, she struggled until her partnership with coach Coto actually began to show results. She caused stunning upsets at the 2015 US Open, where she beat current French Open champion Garbine Muguruza. It was followed by a win aginst the World No.2 Simona Halep in Wuhan, China.
Her 2016 season started with an absolute bang. She made a semifinal appearance at the Australian Open, her best Grand Slam appearance till date. Since then, Konta has won the Stanford Classic, her maiden WTA title, by beating Venus Williams, once again in three tight sets. At the China Open, she made her first WTA Premier tournament final, where she went down to Polish player Agnieszka Radwanska. The run gave Johanna an opportunity to qualify for the WTA Finals, capping off her majestic season this year.
What lies ahead
With a fantastic opportunity in sight, we hope Johanna makes it to Singapore in the weeks to come. Given the potential she has, let’s just hope she doesn’t falter like many other WTA hopefuls already have, namely Eugenie Bouchard and fellow Briton Laura Robson. Given the unpredictability of the Tour, if she plays to her capabilities, can be a threat to every top player. An exceptional player, she can go on to become the face of the WTA.
Rahul is a tennis enthusiast and loves to write about sports in general. His inspirations are Rafael Nadal, Michael Phelps and Roger Federer.