Britain’s Johanna Konta was a mere blip on the tennis radar before her stint at the 2016 Australian Open. Barely breaching the world’s top 150 rankings of female tennis players, nobody was paying Konta massive attention.
That changed when in the first round, the 24-year old defeated world #1 Serena Williams. Her early success in the Melbourne tournament ushered in a historic opportunity, the Guardian reports. Konta won the next four matches and earned a spot in the semi-finals. She is the first British player to reach the semi-finals round of a Grand Slam event in over 30 years.
Her streak was cut short by eventual champion, Angelique Kerber of Germany. But she did leave a mark that many view as inspirational to young tennis players around the world. Count Virginia Wade as a believer in Konta’s impact particularly to underachieving British players. Wade is Britain’s last women’s Grand sSam singles champion.
Talking to BT Sport, Wade sets Konta’s performance in the 2016 Australian Open as an example to guide Britain’s young players in their budding career in this sport.
“You look at so many of the young British players and you think they’ve got the game,” Wade said. “Why can’t they just take it one step further?”
Fed Cup team captain Judy Murray prays that Konta’s success and growing profile will fuel a generation of female tennis players to aspire and succeed.
“What Jo has done in Australia is so impressive, and naturally she is going to be very confident when we play next week,” Murray said. In a report by the Daily Mail UK, Murray is convinced Konta will become the face of women’s tennis in the UK.
Murray also praised Konta’s dedication to improve many aspects of her game, saying “it has all been possible because of Jo’s excellent attitude and work ethic.”