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Wimbledon notebook: Konta bristles at reporter after loss

Wimbledon notebook: Konta bristles at reporter after loss

July 10th, 2019 by Associated Press in Sports Pro

Fabrice Martin avoids a return by Serena Williams as her mixed doubles partner Andy Murray watches during a match Tuesday at Wimbledon in London.

Photo by Associated Press /Fulton Sun.

WIMBLEDON, England — Johanna Konta didn't appreciate having her performance questioned after losing in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon.

As the last British player remaining in the tournament, Konta was the crowd favorite against Barbora Strycova on Centre Court but lost 7-6 (5), 6-1 despite holding a 4-1 lead in the first set. She attributed Strycova's comeback solely to her opponent's good play — and bristled at the notion it was her own mistakes that were at fault.

Asked by a reporter whether she should "look at yourself a little bit about how you cope with these big points," Konta shot back: "Is that in your professional tennis opinion?"

A testy exchange followed, with the reporter saying if Konta wants to win a Grand Slam tournament one day she should be willing to learn from matches like this one. Konta interrupted him to say "please don't patronize me."

"In the way you're asking your question, you're being quite disrespectful and you're patronizing me," she said. "I'm a professional competitor who did her best today, and that's all there is to that."

After Andy Murray ended a 77-year wait for a British men's champion at Wimbledon, the country's tennis fans — and media — have become increasingly hopeful Konta could become the first homegrown female champion since Virginia Wade in 1977.

But Konta, who reached the semifinals at the All England Club in 2017, insisted it wasn't the pressure that got to her when she was leading.

"I guess what happened is that I have an opponent on the other side of the court who has everything to say in how the match goes, as well," she said. "I don't think you need to pick on me in a harsh way. I mean, I think I'm very open with you guys (in the media). I say how I feel out there. If you don't want to accept that answer or you don't agree with it, that's fine. I still believe in the tennis that I play. I still believe in the way I competed."

Konta wasn't the only player to waste a 4-1 lead Tuesday. Zhang Shuai and Karolina Muchova also did so before losing in straight sets in their quarterfinal matches. Zhang was beaten 7-6 (4), 6-1 by seventh-seeded Simona Halep and Muchova lost 7-5, 6-4 to No. 8 Elina Svitolina.

III

ANDY MURRAY'S SURGICALLY repaired hip is coping quite well with the strain of playing doubles. As for making a return to singles, that's still "quite a ways away, unfortunately," the two-time Wimbledon champion said.

Murray and Serena Williams teamed up for mixed doubles again Tuesday, beating Fabrice Martin and Raquel Atawo 7-5, 6-3 on Centre Court to reach the third round. Murray, who had hip surgery this year, also played in men's doubles but lost in the second round.

Murray said he is feeling fine physically while he's playing, but he's still not ready to compete at the highest level in singles. So a return at the U.S. Open — where he won the first of his three Grand Slam titles in 2012 — doesn't appear to be on the cards.

"I think it's pretty unlikely just in terms of timing," Murray said. "Just a lot of stuff I need to get done physically, get myself stronger. The amount of work I need to do on the court to get ready for singles, the amount of work I need to put in off the court to get myself strong enough to play best-of-five sets, it's still quite a ways away, unfortunately."