MX23RW : Tuesday, July 23 05:34:16| >> :600:3158052:3158052:

Johanna Konta hoping to keep momentum in Birmingham

Johanna Konta hoping to keep momentum in Birmingham
© Reuters
Konta will face Anett Kontaveit in the first round in Birmingham.

Johanna Konta is hoping to carry her superb clay-court form onto the grass as she begins her build-up to Wimbledon.

The British number one will play her first tournament since reaching her third grand slam semi-final in Paris at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham this week.

The wet weather has limited her already-reduced grass-court practice to a couple of sessions since she returned to the court on Wednesday, meaning a first-round clash with Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit will require a fast adaptation.

— LTA (@the_LTA) June 16, 2019

What Konta does have in abundance is confidence and match toughness thanks to her 15 victories on clay, more than double the tally for the rest of her career combined.

“I’ve been playing at a good level consistently for a period of time,” she said. “It was a nice situation to have to play quite a lot of matches back to back.

“You can only take good things from match fitness and confidence in decision making and in knowing you can come through different situations.

“I feel pretty similar going into this grass-court season except maybe that I just haven’t spent as much time on the surface, but that’s a very good problem to have.

“I always look forward to the grass because I get to be at home. I just drove up this morning, which is nice. Not many players get to experience that in a season, just pop to your tournament.”

Konta’s exceptional run in Paris prompted her to pull out of the grass-court event in Nottingham, where she had reached the final for the past two years.

Birmingham has been the exception on a surface where Konta has generally been very successful – capped, of course, by her run to the semi-finals of Wimbledon two years ago.

The 28-year-old has never made it past the second round in six previous appearances at the Edgbaston Priory Club, but is hoping to change that this time.

Konta, seeded seventh, said: “I’ve played Nottingham every year so it’s a different situation, it’s a different dynamic. This will be my first grass-court tournament and I’m just looking forward to getting started really.

“Last year I lost to Petra (Kvitova), the year before Coco (Vandeweghe), so I’ve played some very capable players, especially on this surface. I wouldn’t say it’s anything specifically to do with Birmingham or the tournament. It’s always a lot to do with the opponents that you play.

Johanna Konta has never made it past the second round in Birmingham
Johanna Konta has never made it past the second round in Birmingham (David Davies/PA)

“There’s no reason why this year I can’t do better. It might not happen but I’ll be working towards hopefully making it happen.”

Konta is one of three British players in what is an exceptionally strong draw. Heather Watson and Harriet Dart were both awarded wild cards, and Dart will also be playing doubles with Venus Williams.

Williams is 39 on Monday and turned professional two years before her partner was born.

Dart, 22, said: “It was the tournament’s idea and what an incredible opportunity for me to play with such a champion. I’m very excited. She’s done so much for the game and she’s still going.”

The pair will play their first match on Monday against Nadiia Kichenok of the Ukraine and American Abigail Spears. Konta’s clash with Kontaveit also takes place on the opening day of the tournament while Watson faces Czech Barbora Strycova.

ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'});
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin);
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Eleanor Crooks, Press Association Sport Tennis Correspondent');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'b96e88d1-cc4a-4dbb-a8da-9186a5a51451');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:uk');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite');
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null);
ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:tennis');
ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Johanna Konta keen to keep up fine form at Nature Valley Classic'});

body check tags ::

Click here for more stories about Johanna Konta

Share this article now:
Sports Mole Instagram banner

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Click here to log in with Facebook and add your favourite team's news and scores to this panel

6

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
/esi/758/0/index.html - esi:0:site:0:-p-: {0}: - :T758:-: {0}: < ! - - T  758 {0} - - >  : 

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account