Johanna Konta insists she didn’t suffer stage fright as Maria Sharapova ended the British number two’s Wimbledon campaign with a straight sets first round victory.
Placed on Centre Court against the popular 2004 champion, the 24-year-old was undone in an hour and 23 minutes as the ruthless Russian eased to a 6-2, 6-2 victory.
Konta was the first Brit to exit the 2015 Championships and, although she couldn’t repeat her Eastbourne quarter-final heroics, admitted she will benefit from the experience.
“I wasn’t just playing a top five player, it was playing a top five player on Centre Court – I can’t be too disappointed,” she said.
“I enjoyed every minute of it, my best just wasn’t good enough in the end and Maria deserved to go through.
“I didn’t have nerves, more excitement and anticipation. It was just a shame I couldn’t have done a little bit better. There were some chances out there for me but she played very well on those points – she is a four-time Grand Slam champion for a reason.
“I didn’t really pay too much attention to the crowd. It was just us two on the court as far as I was concerned, I tried to stay within myself I do feel I am very lucky playing such a champion.
“I work towards these occasions, I want to compete in the best competitions in the world – my motivation is simple, to keep getting better every day and this will keep me coming back and having moments like this again in my career.”
Sharapova wasn’t rusty despite four weeks without tennis and didn’t at any point look like making a shock day one exit.
“I felt good and it was wonderful to be back on Centre Court, this place holds special memories for me,” she said.
“I feel like I played well which you have to against a home favourite. I needed to be at my best.”