Jo Konta’s bid for a second Wimbledon semi-final in three years ended in tears.
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. Yeah, I don't have much else to say to your question. Jo Konta
The British No.1 suffered a shock 7-6(5) 6-1 loss against unseeded Barbora Strycova on Centre Court.
And then got upset as she accused a journalist of “picking on me” and “patronising” her, before another inquisitor suggested she had used “X-rated language on court” in the second set.
It all flared up after she explained her defeat.
She said: “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. I think she was playing very well. I think I couldn’t quite find the level that I needed to make it difficult and challenging for the kind of player she is. She’s a very difficult player to play on this surface, and in general. She’s a very good player. It’s just, yeah, unfortunate I couldn’t quite find the level needed to come through.”
The 28-year-old, who made the last four at the French Open, was then asked: “Looking at numbers, 33 (sic) unforced errors, then you had a smash at the net which you hit straight to her, then towards the end of the third set you had a double-fault, then missed a drive volley. Do you not have to look at yourself a little bit about how you cope with these big points? It’s all very well saying it’s a lot to do with your opponent, but there were key points when you perhaps could have done better.”
Konta said: “Is that in your professional tennis opinion?
Journalist said: “No, that’s just as a watching spectator with everyone else on Centre Court willing you on. And the numbers are IBM’s.
Konta said: “ Okay. I mean, 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. 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. Yeah, I don’t have much else to say to your question.”
Journalist said: “I’m just asking you as somebody who presumably wants to go on from here, learn from this, win a Grand Slam one day. Is it not something…”
Konta said: “Please don’t patronise me.”
Journalist said: “I’m not patronizing you.”
Konta said: “No, no, you are. In the way you’re asking your question, you’re being quite disrespectful and you’re patronizing me. I’m a professional competitor who did her best today, and that’s all there is to that.”
Then came the foul language issue popped up.
Jornalist said: “There was a moment of X-rated language from yourself on court. Was that a sign of the frustration you were feeling in the second set?
Konta said: “I mean, I guess I don’t recall. Yeah, I mean, she’s a frustrating player to play. I mean, I definitely found myself in a few frustrating positions out there. Apologies if I swore.”
The home crowd favourite began like she had a train to catch. Her aggressive approach paid dividends against an opponent looking to reach her first Grand Slam semi-final in her 15 years on the circuit.
She survived a break point before cracking Strycova’s opening service game, hammering down a turbo-charged forehand to seal a 2-0 lead.
Konta had the best service figures of anyone in her event going in and she showed why as she held again. And, after the Czech managed to pull a game back, she made it 4-1.
But from that point the wheels fell off as Strycova started to mix things up, interrupting the Brit’s rhythm.
The Czech was at a physical disadvantage, standing at just 5ft.5in, but her mind was sharp. And she had Konta struggling with her cat-and-mouse tactics, largely taking the pace off the ball.
The 28-year-old’s lack of variety in her game was exposed. But also, and crucially, unforced errors crept into her game. Her forehand broke down, as she often overhit the shot.
And, as Strycova sliced and diced with her double-handed back hand, Konta struggled to come up with answers. Strycova broke back in the seventh game and forced the set into tie-break.
Again, Konta’s tendency to overhit the forehand wasn’t helping her cause. But she dug deep and with two superb backhand cross court shots put herself within two points of rescuing the set.
But another overegged forehand off a fine second serve presented her unseeded opponent a set point, one she took as Konta dumped a forehand into the net.
Konta had come back from a set down against two-time champion Petra Kvitova, Strycova’s compatriot, in the previous round.
But the Brit found herself 3-0 down in the second. Her second ace enabled her to clinch the fourth game. But errors still littered her game as she battled to deal with her opponent’s variety.
A forehand which clipped the net and sealed a 4-1 lead for her opponent showed luck was not on Konta’s side either.
Konta attempts to play in a bubble to maintain her focus but the bubble finally burst as another forehand drifted long on match point. The unforced error count was Konta 34, Strycova nine. That told much of the story.
She said:” I think I’ve played a great tournament. Obviously I would have liked to have played three more matches, won three more matches. But I really feel that even including today, I can take a lot away from these 10 days. The players that I’ve played and beaten, also lost to today, I think overall there’s a lot I can be proud of and take from it.”