Konta surprise split from coach after career best year

Johanna Konta

Johanna Konta

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Eastbourne tennis player Johanna Konta has split from Spanish coach Esteban Carril.

The news came as a surprise given the 25-year-old’s impressive rise under the guidance of Carril.

There has so far been no comment from Konta or her agent but Carril confirmed the split via email, “I am no longer working with Johanna but I want to give Johanna the opportunity to speak about it rather than me.”

The British No.1 has been practising at Roehampton’s National Tennis Centre with British coach Andrew Fitzpatrick - it is unclear at this stage if this will be a permanent arrangement.

Konta turned to Carril, who is the director of an academy in Gijon, after having her funding cut by the Lawn Tennis Association.

At that stage, Konta was ranked outside the top 100, but her rapid rise began in the summer of 2015 when she reached the fourth round of the US Open as a qualifier.

She began 2016 with a stunning run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open and has continued to climb the rankings since, finishing the year as the first British woman to be ranked in the top 10 since Jo Durie 32 years ago.

Carril also introduced Konta to mental coach Juan Coto, whose influence has arguably been even more important in helping her overcome performance anxiety.

Konta, who was named the WTA’s most improved player for 2016, will begin next season at the Shenzhen Open in China, starting on January 1.