Australian Open

'Good wine' Konta uncorks new, mature attitude

2017-01-15 11:11
Johanna Konta (Getty Images)

Melbourne - In-form world number nine Johanna Konta Sunday said she is maturing "like a good wine" and is seeing her hard work pay off as she targets a deep run at the Australian Open.

The Sydney-born Briton, 25, has blossomed over the past two years, crediting her transformation with a new mental attitude honed with mind coach Juan Coto, who died suddenly in November.

It helped her last year become the first British woman to reach a Grand Slam semi-final since 1983 in an eye-catching performance at Melbourne Park, where she was making her debut.

Konta, named the WTA's most improved player for 2016, is now a serious threat at this year's opening Grand Slam after beating world number three Agnieszka Radwanska to win this week's Sydney International.

"Obviously to have beaten a player like Aga, I'm definitely very pleased with the level I played," she said, ahead of her first-round clash against Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens on Tuesday.

"But we all know that it's not a given. It doesn't decide how you will do in the next event.

"I'm taking it as a positive from the week itself, but I'm looking to again work hard here and really try to do the best that I can here."

Konta has recently recruited Wim Fissette, one of the women's tour's most experienced coaches, to help fine-tune her game and she said the move was already paying dividends.

"I'm enjoying learning from him. He comes with just an incredible amount of experience on the tour with some of the best players in the game," she said.

"I think I'm really keeping my ears open and trying to be a sponge, really just trying to absorb as much as I can from him.

"He's a very calm individual, but he's also quite funny. So far we're having a good time."

Konta has shot up the rankings since 2014, when she was ranked 150 in the world and struggling to make ends meet after stepping up from the ITF circuit.

She said she was still improving, crediting a new level maturity for her progress.

"I believe I have matured. I believe I've gotten better at reinvesting the experiences and the lessons that I've learnt throughout the years and actually putting them into the situations that I face on the match court," she said.

"I think that has made me a better competitor.

"But again, I think things like that also take time. Like a good wine. So, yeah, it was just, again, accumulating experiences."

Read more on:    wta tour  |  australian open  |  johanna konta  |  tennis
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