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Wade backs Konta to end UK's 40 year wait at Wimbledon

By Eleanor Crooks

Virginia Wade believes Johanna Konta has a great chance of ending her reign as the last British winner of the women's singles title at Wimbledon.

It is 40 years since Wade defeated Betty Stove in the final and received the Venus Rosewater Dish from the Queen in the year of her Silver Jubilee, 1977.

The monarch will not be making a trip to the All England Club this year, but the celebrations will be just as jubilant should Konta pull it off.

The British No.1 will face Venus Williams in the semi-finals today, with either Garbine Muguruza or Magdalena Rybarikova waiting in the final should she make it.

Wade sees Williams and Muguruza as dangers but insisted: "I honestly feel she's got as good a chance as anyone.

"You don't want to discount Venus in this match because Venus is playing very well indeed, she's not making as many errors as she used to. To me she's playing more thoughtfully, she knows when to throw in a few slower balls, when to come in."

Wade continued: “Muguruza is perfectly capable of winning anything that she enters, Venus has got a tremendous record, Rybarikova plays the perfect game for grass, and they’ve all been coming under the radar because all the attention’s been on Jo, which she’s handled well, but certainly Venus and Muguruza can win the tournament too.”

Wade had a front-row seat in the Royal Box on Tuesday as Konta battled her way past Simona Halep in a gripping and high-quality match.

Only two years ago, Konta was ranked well outside the top 100, but her meteoric rise has been matched by a calmness and composure on and off the court.

Wade knows only too well the pressure Konta must be feeling and has been hugely impressed both by her performances and her attitude.

“It’s hard to separate one from the other because her tennis has been very impressive, the way she’s hitting the ball so early and so hard, very aggressive, and her serve has been so fantastic,” said Wade.

“I started really watching her a couple of years ago and people who knew her well told me her forehand breaks down. Well, it’s been sensational so I’m impressed with that, and not only her first serve but her second serve.

“In the women’s game the return of serve has improved so much, and if you don’t serve well you’re toast.

“It’s all come together because she’s doing everything so well. She looks like she knows what she has to do and she goes out and does it. It’s fantastic.”

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