Eastbourne Tennis 2021: Why Johanna Konta pulled-out and will British No 1 be fit for Wimbledon?

Johanna Konta has withdrawn from next week’s Viking International Eastbourne because of continuing concerns over her right knee.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 2:49 pm
Johanna Konta has a knee problem ahead of Wimbledon
Johanna Konta has a knee problem ahead of Wimbledon

The British No 1 has been struggling with a knee issue since 2019 and is particularly cautious around changing surfaces.

She won her first WTA title since 2017 in Nottingham with a comprehensive 6-2 6-1 win over Zhang Shuai in Sunday’s final – the first Briton in 40 years to win a grasscourt event. Konta then withdrew from this week’s Viking Classic Birmingham and has opted not to play in her hometown of Eastbourne.

Konta said: “I’m sorry I can’t make it to Eastbourne this year to play in front of my home crowd, but I can’t wait to play in front of you all next year.”

The world No 30 has twice reached the semi-finals in Eastbourne but will focus her attention on preparing for Wimbledon.

It’s a blow for the Eastbourne tournament which gets underway this Saturday followed by the Wimbledon grand slam. Organisers are naturally disappointed Konta will be missing, but remain upbeat about the quality of the fields for both the women’s and men’s events.

Tournament director Gavin Fletcher said: “It’s a shame that Johanna won’t be able to join us this year at the LTA Viking International Eastbourne, we wish her the best with her recovery.

“However, there will still be lots of Brits for fans to get behind, as well as world-class fields including five of the top ten women in the world.

“We can’t wait to get started.”

British wild cards for the event are being announced later today.

In the women’s tournament, world No4 Aryna Sabalenka from Belarus is the highest-ranked player in the women’s draw and is joined by two grand slam champions.

They are the 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu from Canada, No7 in the rankings, and 2020 French Open champion Iga Swiatek from Poland, who is world No 9.

Ukrainian Elina Svitolina and the defending champion Czech Karolina Pliskova, world No 10, make up a strong showing from the current international top ten.

Coco Gauff, who is still just 17 and made waves at Wimbledon in 2019 when she defeated American Venus Williams as a 15-year-old, will also make her debut at Eastbourne.