Johanna Konta: Media doesn’t make it easy for me, says British number one

Johanna Konta
Johanna Konta has won 11 and lost 11 of her matches in 2018
French Open 2018
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Dates: 27 May-10 June
Coverage: Daily live radio and text commentaries on BBC Radio 5 live, the BBC Sport website and app.

Britain’s Johanna Konta says being reminded of her poor French Open record by the media does not “make it easy” for her at Roland Garros.

Konta, seeded 22nd, was beaten 6-4 6-3 by Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva – her fourth successive first-round loss at the tournament.

The British number one has never won a main-draw match in Paris.

Johanna Konta: Media doesn’t make it easy for me, says British number one
Johanna Konta: Media doesn’t make it easy for me, says British number one

“I don’t think it helps if it keeps being said: ‘Oh, she hasn’t done well there before,'” she said.

However, Konta’s results on her least favourite surface over the past two years mean it is unsurprising they have been highlighted.

She only won two matches on the red dirt last summer and, although she showed encouraging signs in Madrid and Rome earlier this year, it has been compounded by her loss against world number 93 Putintseva.

Her form on this surface contrasts sharply with her success on grass, where she reached the Wimbledon semi-finals last summer, and the three WTA titles she has won on hard courts.

After losing to Putintseva, she asked journalists whether they felt it was fair to keep bringing up her previous form in the main draw at Roland Garros.

“If every time you went in to work – because, obviously, you travel – and let’s say for a few years your pieces of writing have been crap every time when you come into Roland Garros.

“Right? Just crap. And then your colleagues start to say: ‘You know, you really suck around that time.’ And that happens, you know, for a few years.

“How would you guys digest that?

“It’s not something I would like to buy into, and I don’t think I do. However, you guys don’t make it easy.”

In the build-up to this year’s tournament, Konta attempted to build positivity by highlighting her victories in the qualifying competition for Roland Garros in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

She qualified for the main draw in 2015 – when she was ranked 143rd – going on to lose to the higher-placed Czech Denisa Allertova in a hard-fought, three-set match.

However, defeat by Putintseva means she has been eliminated by players ranked much lower in each of the past three years.

“Out of my four main draw matches that I’ve played here, this is probably the one I’m most disappointed in terms of the level that I played,” Konta said.

“So, for me, this one is a bit harder to take in that way.”


Russell Fuller, BBC tennis correspondent

It was so welcome to hear what Johanna Konta really thinks: leaning back in her chair, with her arms behind her head, she conjured up an analogy aimed at her immediate audience.

It revealed her frustration at some of the conclusions the media draw, and it served as a reminder of how difficult it can be to shut out the surround sound.

On court at the moment, it seems to be a case of taking two steps forward, and then one step back.

Konta is never likely to be a player who is able to adapt her game plan significantly during a match, but a little more subtlety and conservatism would not go amiss at times.

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