Johanna Konta eyes extended run at Wimbledon after first round victory
Eastbourne's Johanna Konta wants to put women's tennis on the map in Britain by making an impact at Wimbledon.
Konta has been tipped as a genuine contender for the title this year and took one step closer on Monday by beating world number 113 Hsieh Su-wei 6-2 6-2.
With the pregnant Serena Williams absent and Maria Sharapova injured, the women’s draw is wide open for a rising star like Konta, who is now bidding to reach the third round at SW19 for the first time in six attempts.
Konta’s talent, however, is yet to really register with the wider British public and it was noticeable that Court One was barely half full when she walked out against Hsieh.
The world number seven insists she feels no extra pressure at Wimbledon but admits she would enjoy securing the game some extra attention this summer.
“I know we’re in an unfortunate situation that tennis is mainly on the map here during this period of the season for us,” Konta said.
“However, I play my career in a tennis season context, so I don’t live my career for this week particularly, this fortnight particularly.
“I live it for the whole season and try to really perform the best that I can in every event that I enter.
“That said, I definitely would like to be involved here for the full fortnight to help put tennis on the map that much more.
“But I think Andy (Murray) has done a pretty tremendous job of doing that.”
Konta lost to Hsieh in the French Open first round less than five weeks ago but she earned some measure of revenge with a comfortable victory.
There was also no sign of the spine injury that caused Konta to withdraw from Eastbourne last week and the 26-year-old reported no pain after the match.
“I’m feeling well,” Konta said.
“I’d hit on Sunday, that was kind of the first test to see how I was doing. I felt absolutely fine and it was no different today. I’m not feeling any pain.”
Konta will now face another of her recent conquerors in Donna Vekic, who beat her in the final of the Nottingham Open last month.
“That’s another great opportunity for me to play against someone who the last time I played played a very good match,” Konta said.
“It’s another opportunity for me to try and find a way to come out on top this time but most importantly, I’m looking forward to having another round here and competing the best that I can.”