Chris Evert ‘puzzled’ by Johanna Konta shot selection, saying British No 1 needs play smarter
Chris Evert has questioned Johanna Konta’s tactical intelligence.
Evert, one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, watched Konta’s error-strewn defeat by Coco Gauff in the first round of the French Open and was left “puzzled” by the British No 1’s performance.
Having reached the semi-finals in Paris last season and the quarter-finals of Wimbledon, Konta has had a disappointing year in the Slams in 2020, winning just one match.
She is currently searching for a new permanent coach, but Evert said: “I don’t think a coach is her problem. I don’t think finding a good coach will make any difference.
“I like Jo as a person and I respect her hard work ethic, but I get puzzled as to her choice of shots. And I get puzzled when she plays the pressure points – how to win a match, how to continue with the momentum.
“That has to come from within her. That match she played at the French Open, that was not a good match to watch. The conditions were horrible. It was still the unforced errors. She just has to be a little bit smarter out there on the court.”
Konta’s determination to keep going for big shots even when she is routinely missing the court has frustrated many observers.
The 29-year-old worked hard on her game under previous coach Dimitri Zavialoff, introducing the drop shot and coming to the net more, but the fundamental issues remain.
Evert, who will be working for Eurosport throughout the tournament, said: “If you get to be on the tour for over 10 years, you have to know your game.
“You have to know your strengths, have to know your weaknesses, know how to play within yourself. And that is what I don’t think she does as well as she could. Notice the score. How will you play this point? Will you be aggressive? Will you hold back a little bit?
“That is what the top-10 players know how to do better than anyone. You cannot play every single point the same way.”
Zavialoff ended his partnership with Konta during the summer because of personal circumstances, and a trial with hugely-experienced Swede Thomas Hogstedt did not work out.
Although Konta will be 30 next year, Evert believes it is not too late for her to address these issues.
“I think she is a smart girl,” said the American, the winner of 18 grand slam singles titles. “She still has the motivation and she’s always trying to learn. It’s never too late. She has all the shots. But it takes more than that.”
– Watch Roland-Garros live on Eurosport and Eurosport app
Dan Evans advances to Austrian Open second round as Aljaz Bedene retires injured
Evans was in a strong position, leading 6-3 4-5, when the Slovenian called time on the match after suffering a right thigh injury.
Tennis Top 10
Top 10 ATP No 1s by weeks: Novak Djokovic closing in on Roger Federer milestone, but who else features?
Refresh your memory of the top 10 ATP No 1s by weeks.
Tennis Today: Andy Murray eyes visit to most remote tennis court in world, Serena Williams struts her stuff
Tennis Today features Andy Murray and Serena Williams.
WATCH: Rafael Nadal swaps tennis rackets for golf clubs and finishes tied sixth at Balearic Golf Pro-Am
Rafael Nadal the golfer is quite good.
Now that his biggest dream has become a reality, Dominic Thiem is ready to achieve new goals
Dominic Thiem sets sights on new goals.
Andrey Rublev and Diego Schwartzman closing in on last two ATP Finals places
Schwartzman increased points tally in Cologne.
Novak Djokovic praises ‘hard worker, great guy’ Dominic Thiem: ‘He deserves it more than anybody else’
Novak Djokovic impressed by Dominic Thiem.
Dominic Thiem hails ‘unreal’ Vienna Open field, saying defending title is ‘not mission impossible, but almost’
Dominic Thiem up against it in Vienna.
Another Cologne trophy for Alexander Zverev as he vows ‘to be on top of the game very soon’
Another week, another Cologne trophy for Zverev.
Aryna Sabalenka ends rollercoaster week by ‘playing more freely’ and beating Victoria Azarenka in Ostrava
Aryna Sabalenka is your 2020 Ostrava Open champion.