This British tennis star is causing waves at Wimbledon this year and no matter what else happens she has also announced herself onto the world stage. It has breathed new life into British tennis as many wondered if Andy Murray was all we could hope for.
So who is our new hero and what has lead up to this competition?
Johanna Konta is the daughter of Hungarian immigrants ,but they didn’t actually emigrate to England straight away. Instead they chose Australia where Johanna grew up until she was 11. When her parents moved to the UK her Tennis skills had led her to a gain a spot at a prestigious tennis academy in Barcelona where she trained for 15 months from 14.
Konta changed her nationally officially in 2012 when she was 21 and her family had been living in Eastbourne for ten years. Many questions surround her nationality and no doubt more scrutiny will come now she has had success. While it is flattering for people fight over her she has stated she made the right the decision. Konta said she was “very pleased to be representing Great Britain … where I grew up essentially”.
In terms of style of play Konta, in typical British fashion, is focused on a dominant service game. In 2016 she finished fourth in Ace count in the WTA overall stats. She is not just a one trick pony however as thanks to her time in Barcelona she can more than hold her own on the baseline. She has a much more defensive style than most but thanks to an aggressive and flat backhand she is most dangerous when the opponents think they have got her at her weakest.
Johanna’s career has been a series of ups and downs despite her still young age of 26. She was a success on the British pro circuit but it was not until 2012 where she got into her first WTA event in Copenhagen. She spent the next four years bouncing around the tour failing to qualify for the Grand Slams but benefitting from British Wild card entries.
It was at her home turf in Eastbourne in 2015 where she had her first breakthrough beating Garbine Murguruzu. She also went into the top 100 that year and the top 50 by the end of it.
The 2016 Australian Open was the birth of her as a main star as she beat Venus Williams and battled all the way through to the semi-finals on her debut in the main draw! She drew attention at this tournament for her Australian roots.
2016 also saw her represent Britain in the Olympics and rise through the rankings to move up to pressuring the top 10.
At the start of 2017 a new coach in the form of Wim Fissette has introduced a more aggressive style to her game that has made her a danger on the offensive. This change in tactics and continuing improvement has 2017 being her best season so far. She won the Miami Open, she played a key role in Britain’s efforts for the Fed Cup, and emerged as Britain’s brightest hope for a female champion.
This Wimbledon is the turning into her moment. It could be the start of something incredible and the emergence of a British tennis contender in women’s singles. But even if it doesn’t, Konta has reached a level that many didn’t see coming and in turn has inspired many girls to take up a racquet and perhaps become the true successor of British women’s tennis. We are cheering on Johanna and her unusual story to becoming the darling of the British public and can only hope that she can continue to improve and one day bring home a Grand Slam!