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.
More from Tennis365:
Exclusive – Barbara Schett picks her Australian Open favourite and admits star names may struggle
Barbara Schett has backed Ashleigh Barty to enjoy success in Melbourne.
T365 Recalls: Caroline Wozniacki captures sole Grand Slam title at 2018 Australian Open
We look back at Caroline Wozniacki’s moment of glory in 2018.
Andy Murray’s tips on how to stay tennis fit during lockdown, featuring burpees, lunges and chin tucks
Andy Murray’s advice on how to stay fit.
Johanna Konta ‘feeling really good and very lucky’ with end of Australian quarantine period in sight
Johanna Konta’s two-week quarantine period nearly over.
CAS hears urgent appeal against doping ban by suspended Dayana Yastremska
Dayana Yastremska hopes to play at Australian Open.
‘I would love to beat Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros this year,’ says Stefanos Tsitsipas
Stefanos Tsitsipas sets his sights high.
Did you nab Serena Williams’ Wimbledon trophy after ‘getting a little too happy at her house party’?
Where have Serena Williams’ Grand Slam trophies gone?
Authorities working on ‘finding a solution’ to get exercise equipment to ‘abandoned’ Paula Badosa
“We have exercise equipment ready and waiting for her.”
Rafael Nadal sees a bigger picture and stresses ‘we can’t complain’ ahead of Australian Open
Some players have been frustrated by a strict quarantine process.
Nick Kyrgios on Novak Djokovic: ‘He’s technically our LeBron James and has to set an example for tennis’
Nick Kyrgios on his latest criticism of Novak Djokovic.