Profile: Johanna Konta
- Published: 30/03/2018
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Current British number one, Johanna Konta has had a remarkable rise over the last five years. The Australian born tennis player, moved to the UK aged 14 and since has 2012 competed for Great Britain.
As the first British women to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals in 39 years, Jo has attracted legions of fans including many high profile celebs such as Rolling Stone’s frontman Mick Jagger and dancer, Darcy Bussell!
Off court and away from her insane work ethic, she enjoys watching U2 and baking.
Date of Birth: 17/05/1991
Birthplace: Sydney, Australia
Height: 1.80 m / 5′ 11”
Plays: Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
Career: 2008 – Present
Prize Money: $2,928,229
Born to Hungarian parents in Sydney, Australia, Johanna Konta was introduced to tennis at an after-school programme at the age of 8. Showing natural talent, the family spend the next few years touring the globe attending tournaments.
At the age of 14, she moved to Barcelona in order to further her development and attended the Sanchez Casal academy. While studying in Spain her parents moved to England, where the family settled in Eastbourne, East Sussex.
While at first, Johanna represented Australia, she switched her sporting allegiance to Great Britain after she became a British citizen in May 2012.
First pro serve
Just before her 17th birthday in May 2008, Johanna won her first ITF singles title at a $10,000 tournament in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
This momentum continued into 2009, with $25,000 tournament at Sutton, UK. Entering as a wild card, Konta defeated the top seed, Corinna Dentoni, as well as two other top 250 players to reach the final where she lost in three sets to Katie O’Brien.
Later in 2009, she took home the top price in the $25,000 tournament at the W.O.W. Challenger in Ontario, Canada. However, the year was finished with a disappointing run of loses.
The first half of 2010 was quite uneventful, until May when she reached the quarter-final of the $50,000 tournament at Indian Harbour Beach, Florida. The following week she took home the title on the green clay courts of Raleigh, North Carolina. She won this $50,000 tournament the day before her 19th birthday.
The latter half of 2010 was filled with many close loses as well as Johanna’s first appearance on the WTA tour.
2011 was a mixed year with highlights including qualifying for the WTA tour, and winning her 5th ITF singles title at the Aegon GB Pro-Series event in Woking, beating Laura Robson. Later in the year and after recovering from injury, Jo beat Lucy Brown in a $10,000 tournament in Madrid.
With a strong end to the 2011 season, Johanna was off to a great start in 2012, including a $25,000 title at Rancho Mirage in February. She qualified for the WTA tour again but lost in the second round. However, by the end of April Konta’s rank had risen nearly 100 places to #211.
Having been granted British citizenship in May, Konta received a main draw wildcard to Wimbledon. She faced 28th seed Christina McHale in the opening round, being beaten 10–8 in the deciding set, thus coming close to causing an upset on her debut appearance.
2012 ended on a high with Jo’s ranking ending on 153 after a mixed performance at the US Open.
Sadly 2013 was a low point in Konta career to date with loses at the Fed Cup, Argon Trophy and Wimbledon. However, after Heather Watson failed to defend her title in Osaka, Johanna rose to become British number two behind Laura Robson.
Konta began 2014 at the Shenzhen Open, however, it ended after losing to 15-year-old wildcard Xu Shilin. In May, Konta reached the final qualifying round of Roland Garros for the first time. This along with the Aegon Classic tournament and Wimbledon, all ended in defeat. In short 2014 was a fairly disappointing year for Konta.
Her losses continued into the first half of 2015 with poor performances on the WTA tour and at the Australian Open. During the middle of the year, between the Australian and French Opens, she focused on ITF Circuit, winning her first-round match in each tournament she entered.
At the French Open, she qualified without losing a set. However, Konta narrowly lost to Allertová in a match that included the longest tie-break in French Open history.
Finding her form, Konta played well at the WTA Eastbourne event as well as at Wimbledon. Both competitions sadly ended in defeat. Her next victory at the Vancouver singles moved Konta into the world top 100 players. After a strong performance at the US Open and WTA tour events, Konta ended 2015 ranked 49 in the world. And also overtook Heather Watson to become British number 1.
Building on the success of 2015, Jo had a slow start to 2016. While she eliminated in the first round at Shenzhen, a few weeks later she beat Venus Williams in straight sets. This pushed her up to become World #28. After a mixed performance on the WTA, Konta entered the grass season ranked #21.
2016 continued with strong performances at Wimbledon, Stanford Classic and the RIO Summer Olympics.
The year of 2017 started with a new coach and strong form with a win at the WTA event in Sydney and a strong performance as part of the British Fed Cup team.
The highlight of 2017 has to be when Johanna reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon, the first women to do so in 39 years!
However, the year was finished with a poor run and injury.
While Grass is Konta’s favourite surface, the majority of her success has come on hard courts.
This is due in part to her offensive baseline play and serve, which is reported to be one of the best in the game. According to WTA match stats in 2016, she was fourth in ace counts, won 62% of her service points, 74.8% of service games and won most of the second serve points at 52.7%.
She uses a semi-western grip for her forehand, which enables she to hit with lots of power and topspin. Jo’s backhand is very flat but maintains an aggressive edge.
While her volleys are solid, they could be considered the weakest part of her game. However, she is very adept at defending thanks to her ability to move around the court quickly.
Starting at the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Barcelona in 2005, Jo began to develop her talent. By 2011 she had moved to Weybridge Tennis Academy and was coached by Justin Sherring.
From 2012 to 2014, she trained at the National Tennis Academy in Roehampton with LTA supplied coaches Louis Cayer and Julien Picot.
With the LTA reducing funding in 2015, Konta to move her training base to Gijon in northern Spain, where Esteban Carril and Jose-Manuel Garcia worked to improve her game with steady results at the start. The hard work paid off as Johanna shot up the rankings by the end of the season. The partnership ended with the close of the 2016 season.
Belgian Wim Fissette assumed the role as head coach before the 2017 season. However, this didn’t last and was mutually ended in late 2017.
On 6 December 2017 Konta announced she was hiring Michael Joyce for the 2018 season.
Career titles: 1 WTA, 11 ITF
Current ranking: #9
Career titles: 4 ITF
Current ranking: #101
Won 2008 ITF $10,000 Singles tournament at Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Won 2016 WTA Singles at Stanford Classic, USA
Fun Facts about Johanna Konta
Konta competed in Rio 2016 for Great Britain in Tennis Women’s Singles, Tennis Women’s Doubles, and Tennis Mixed Doubles.
Her hero growing up was Steffi Graf
She’s a keen baker and has been known to pass home-made cupcakes around at Wimbledon!
Johanna’s favourite food is gelato, a Italian style of Ice cream