EXCLUSIVE: Jo Durie on the road back for Johanna Konta
Former British No 1 Jo Durie believes Johanna Konta is capable of recapturing her best form in 2019, but she admits the road back from a slump in fortunes is always laced with obstacles.
Speaking exclusively to Tennis365 at the Federations Cup match featuring Team GB in Bath, BT Sport commentator Durie offered hope that Konta could make it back to the elite end of the game after an alarming dip in fortunes since her run to the Wimbledon semi-final in 2017 saw her slip down to a current ranking of 39.
“When she got to the last four at Wimbledon, she found herself at No 4 in the world and appeared to be on the brink of establishing herself as one of the best players in the world, but she admitted she hit a brick wall with her energy and emotions,” Durie stated.
“She puts so much into her tennis and getting to that level left her drained. She lost her way for a bit and I understand that. This happens to a lot of top sports people who make a breakthrough and then struggle to sustain it because the effort of getting there is so intense.
“Being successful is fabulous, but it’s very different from what you have been used to up to that point. You tend to lose a lot of matches when you first come onto the main tour and it takes a lot out of you winning lots of matches week after week.
“After a dip in form and fortunes, it is always hard to get back to the levels you achieved when you had your best days and maybe an event like this Fed Cup tie in front of a wonderful crowd in Bath can reignite her career.”
British No 2 Katie Boulter has impressed in Britain’s Fed Cup matches this week with some high pressure victories, with Durie suggesting she could soon join Konta in the game’s elite list.
“Top 50 is the next challenge for Katie to aim for and from there it gets really tough,” Durie told us.
“She probably needs to improve her second serve and movement to have a chance at competing with the very best players, but she has some big shots and a great attitude that give her a chance to go to the next level. She looks the part on court.”
Durie believes the excitement generated by the Fed Cup success of a team led by coach Anne Keothavong has been a huge boost to the women’s game, with mass media coverage still arriving despite plenty of competition from major football, cricket and rugby matches.
“What an atmosphere we have seen on Bath this week,” added Durie. “They have been building this event up for months and it has lived up to its billing in the grand manner.
“The GB team know how important it is to get out of this group stage and into the play-off, with the exposure this event is giving tennis and the women’s version of the sport in this country such a wonderful boost on a number of levels.
“Our girls have had to cope with huge expectations playing at home, but they have stepped up and delivered and helped to make this a very special event.
“There is a big drive to try and promote women’s sport and this Fed Cup match has been a wonderful advert in recent days. The girls have shown such passion playing for their country and it has been exhausting to watch, never mind trying to play.”
BT Sport is the home of women’s tennis, bringing you action from across the world on the WTA Tour and Fed Cup. For more information visit bt.com/sport.
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