As a British tennis fan, there is one certainty that will always feature in any tennis article. That is of course, Sir Andy Murray – everyone wants to read about him because arguably he is one of the best sportsmen the country has ever produced.
Over the years, he has been Britain’s only hope at winning a grand slam in either the men’s or women’s game. However, it is now time to recognise that, for the first time in a long time, we have a serious contender on the female side of the game in Johanna Konta.
Still just 25 years old, the British number one and world number eleven is one of the hottest prospects in the women’s game currently. A phenomenal 2016 saw her rise from 150 in the world to inside the world’s top ten, peaking at number 9, and in the process becoming the first British woman since Jo Durie in 1984 to lie within the top 10.
“It seems she is making a habit of losing to the eventual champion at several events which must show just how good you have to be to beat her”
The run started in the Australian Open 2016, when she reached the semi-final unexpectedly as an unseeded player and was only knocked out by the eventual champion Angelique Kerber. From there, she kicked on, winning her first WTA tour title in Stanford in the summer, and narrowly missing out on the world tour finals, after finishing ninth on the race to Singapore rankings.
Konta continued her good form at the start of 2017 when she won her second tour title in Sydney and reached the quarter final of the Australian Open, only to be knocked out by the eventual winner Serena Williams.
It seems she is making a habit of losing to the eventual champion at several events which must show just how good you have to be to beat her. Injury since the tournament has kept her out of any significant action on the tour, although it is still very early days in 2017.
“This mental change has certainly helped her effectively pursue an aggressive style of tennis, knocking players off the court before they’ve had a chance to react”
Over the past few tournaments she seems to have been maintaining consistency, which is definitely the next step she has to take in order to win a grand slam. The reason for her more consistent performances is likely down to the improvement of her mental strength over the past 15 months.
“Despite minor injury setbacks, Konta has the potential to be a real threat on the women’s tour in 2017”
In the past Konta used to crumble under any pressure and even admitted herself that she lacked confidence in her game. However, through sports psychology and a change in her outlook, she is now one of the toughest players on the tour mentally as well as physically.
This mental change has certainly helped her effectively pursue an aggressive style of tennis, knocking players off the court before they’ve had a chance to react.
Despite minor injury setbacks, Konta has the potential to be a real threat on the women’s tour in 2017. Her attacking style of play, nerves of steel, one of the best serves in the women’s game and a new found belief in her game all add up to one serious tennis player.
She definitely has the potential, and we could even see her in a major final before the end of the year. For now though, it’s time to recognise the already significant achievements of Konta through more media attention and a greater appreciation from everyone for her game. 2017 certainly promises to be very bright for Konta.