Home comforts of Wimbledon appeal to Johanna Konta

Johanna Konta certainly looks happy to be back on the green, green grass of home.

The British number one is hoping familiar comforts – and memories of last year – will give her season a timely boost at Wimbledon.

She arrived at the All England Club 12 months ago 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 has struggled to maintain that form since, losing in the second round of the Australian Open and her first match at the French Open.

However, Konta is certainly sounding more optimistic than she did after a fuming exit at Roland Garros just a few weeks ago.

She said: “I really enjoyed last year’s Championships for giving me the opportunity to be at home. I think I really took a lot of confidence in those home comforts. It took the edge off everything else that can go around any big tournament.

“I think last year taught me that when I’m playing at my highest level, I can really make an impact in big tournaments. I think that’s a massive confidence boost for any player.

“I think also, specifically to here, it was how well I was able to keep a good perspective.”

Konta is enjoying her relationship with new coach Michael Joyce, who once reached the boys’ final at the All England Club and previously guided the career of Maria Sharapova.

Joyce claimed his big challenge with Sharapova, after her breakthrough as a 17-year old, was teaching her how to cope with expectations.

And Konta could do with some similar sage words of advice, giving the pressure last year’s final four run has created.

“He’s someone who really understands all parts of the game, from the on-court pressures to the off-court pressures, to things that can go through your mind as a player,” she added.

“I’m just going out there and try to do the best that I can. To me that means that I fight for every single point. I’m clear on the way I want to play and I want to keep the attention on my side of the court.

“I’m treating this week as another opportunity for me to perform and for me to keep building on what I feel is a better and better level that I’ve been playing over the last number of weeks.”

Konta will face Russia’s Natalia Vikhlyantseva in the first round, a player who claims grass is her favourite surface after reaching a maiden WTA Tour in s-Hertogenbosch last year.

“I don’t know her very well at all but I practiced with her once,” she said.

“She’s a player with a big game and I know she has big shots. However, I think I’m getting better and better. I feel like I’m playing more consistently at the level that I want to improve from and keep playing.”


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