Johanna Konta says she was ‘picked on’ with questions over Wimbledon defeat

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Johanna Konta was frustrated by questions challenging her big-point mentality after another golden Grand Slam opportunity went begging.

 

The British number one lost 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 to unseeded Barbora Strycova in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

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She hit a huge 33 unforced errors in a match in which she was the overwhelming favourite, mirroring a similar showing in the French Open semis.

 

“I don’t think you need to pick on me in a harsh way,” she told one reporter.

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Presented with examples of shots that had gone wrong, such as a smash at the net and a double fault, and asked if she perhaps could have coped better on big points, she replied: “Is that in your professional tennis opinion?” before saying the questioning was “disrespectful and

patronising”.

 

“I’m a professional competitor who did her best today, and that’s all there is to that,” she added.

 

Konta had put in battling performances against top-10 players in her two previous matches, coming through in three sets against Sloane Stephens and Petra Kvitova, and has much to celebrate from these championships.

 

On the back of a successful clay-court season as well, she is set to return to the top 15 in the rankings for the first time since March 2018.

 

She has won admiration for a calmer on-court demeanour since hiring new coach Dimitri Zavialoff late last year, but the manner of her defeat from a winning position on Tuesday and the nature of the news conference afterwards are reminiscent of the old days.

 

After last year’s first-round exit from the French Open, she accused journalists of making her job more difficult with their criticism.

 

Konta is well known for speaking about the positives in her losses, even if it sometimes looks a bit of an effort to say it and look upbeat at the same time.

 

After this defeat, when she had led 4-1 before crumbling and missing out on a fourth Grand Slam semi-final, she repeated the same “no regrets” mantra that came after the defeat by unseeded Marketa Vondrousova at the French Open in June.

 

That straight-set loss to the teenager – which came after the Briton had held three set points in the first set – stopped her reaching her first Grand Slam final, with many pundits saying that had been her best chance of a major title.

 

Against Strycova, former world number one John McEnroe said it was disappointing to see Konta “fall to pieces” when she had been a break up early on.

 

But Konta, whose forehand broke down when targeted by Strycova, gave much of the credit to the Czech for “playing very well” rather than explaining why her serve that was so dominant in previous rounds dropped to a level where she won just 51% of first-serve points.

 

Nor did she explain why she sent two forehands long and a backhand wide to allow Strycova to break back in the first set, when as former world number one Tracy Austin put it on BBC television, “the irritating streaks of her game started kicking in”.

 

“I think I’ve played a great tournament,” Konta said. “Obviously I would have liked to have played three more matches, won three more matches. But I really feel that even including today, I can take a lot away from these 10 days.

 

“The players that I’ve played and beaten, also lost to today, I think overall there’s a lot I can be proud of and take from it.”

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