Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Tennis

Konta: Royal chat with Duchess of Cambridge inspired me to Wimbledon victory

 

Easing through: Johanna Konta reached the second round at Wimbledon by beating Ana Bogdan yesterday
Easing through: Johanna Konta reached the second round at Wimbledon by beating Ana Bogdan yesterday

By Eleanor Crooks

Johanna Konta was happy to have royal support at Wimbledon - even if she did not realise it at the time.

The British No.1 defeated Romanian qualifier Ana Bogdan 7-5 6-2 in a slightly scrappy match on Court No.1 to move through to the second round for the fourth straight year.

Konta met the Duchess of Cambridge at the practice courts before the match but was not aware that the tennis-loving royal was also in the stands.

"I didn't actually see her watching me," said Konta.

"I was told she might come, but then I also know that their plans can change very quickly. I hope she enjoyed it because I enjoyed playing.

"It's always exciting to have members of the royal family come to this event. I think it adds just to the air of the place, makes it that much more special, especially for everybody who knows that royalty is coming, more than anything."

It was the second time Konta has met the Duchess having also chatted to her at the National Tennis Centre in 2017.

The 19th seed said: "I got to meet her briefly, say hello to her before I played. That was nice.

"We were just actually talking about Court One, about the new roof, playing on there, if it will be any different. I said I'll let her know.

"I'm a big fan of the royal family. But I'm a big fan of tradition. I think that goes very much in hand with that. I really think they do a lot for us."

Konta was relieved to come through after admitting she did not play her best tennis.

"There was very little in that match," she said. "I think first rounds are always tricky in any tournament, but especially Slams. So I think it was just finding my feet and also for her a little bit, as well, I think we were just both trying to find the best level that we could."

Maria Sharapova retired for the first time in her Grand Slam career but suggested she isn't about to quit the game for good after a series of demoralizing injuries.

Sharapova stopped with a left forearm issue while trailing France's Pauline Parmentier 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 0-5 in the first round after initially leading by a set and 5-2.

"I think the easy way would be just for me to maybe do other things because I've set up the opportunities for myself," said Sharapova.

"This is far from easy. I've never taken the easy route. I've always worked, committed, focused. These moments are hard, but I love what I do. I still have a lot of passion for it."

Angelique Kerber started the defence of her Wimbledon title with a comfortable victory over Tatjana Maria.

Kicking off the action on Centre Court on day two, the German eased to a straightforward 6-4 6-3 win over her compatriot.

The 31-year-old, who lost her only previous meeting with Maria, avoided becoming the first ladies' champion to be defeated in the first round the following year since Steffi Graf in 1994.

Kerber said: "I was really nervous, to be honest, because of course going out there as the defending champion, it was really special."

World No.1 Ashleigh Barty eased into the second round courtesy of a 6-4 6-2 victory over Saisai Zheng.

The Australian, who won this year's French Open, said: "It took some time to adjust to conditions and a different court.

"It's a beautiful court to play on," she added.

Serena Williams (37) eased through with a 6-2 7-5 win over Italy's Giulia Gatto-Monticone on Centre Court.

The 2015 champion Garbine Muguruza was the victim of a big shock as she was beaten in straight sets 6-4 6-4 by Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph