NEWS

Johanna Konta sets sights on world number one spot after Miami glory

April 3, 2017

Johanna Konta has spoken of her ambitions to become the number one player in women's tennis after her superb victory in the Miami Open.

The Eastbourne-based 25-year-old is already up to seventh in the WTA rankings after she became the first Briton to win in Miami, but she has indicated she just sees this as a stepping stone to achieving greater ambitions, including Grand Slam glory.

Speaking after beating Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-3 in the final, she remarked: "I'd like to be the best player in the world but there's a lot of work to be done between now and then.

"Everybody's journey is different. I needed a little more time and a little more experience to accumulate the knowledge that I have and re-use it in my matches.

"I play smart tennis and calmer tennis, I think. It just took time."  

Konta's rise has owed much to the mental coaching work carried out by the late Juan Coto, who died in December. Speaking about the Spaniard's influence to BBC Radio 5 Live following his passing, Konta said: "He left me with some incredible tools to deal with my profession and also life."

The player's journey has certainly been a remarkable one. When the 2015 grass court season began she was as low as 146 in the world rankings, but since then she has been a player transformed, reeling off victory after victory and collecting an ever-growing list of big-name scalps.

Former world number one Wozniacki was just one of these players, with Konta's Miami run including a quarter-final win over world number five Simona Halep and a semi-final victory against seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams.

Beating Serena Williams may be another matter - Konta lost heavily in their first ever meeting earlier this year - but with her game progressing so fast, even the veteran American will be aware of the growing threat Konta poses at the top of the women's game.

Konta has certainly impressed coach Wim Fissette, who took on the job just before Christmas and has already seen Konta land two WTA titles after she began the year by claiming the Sydney International trophy without dropping a set. He told BBC Radio Five Live: "I started working with her because I really believe she can win a Grand Slam if she keeps getting better like this."

All this provides another reason for fans booking corporate hospitality for the Championships, Wimbledon to be excited, as Britain now has serious title hopes in the men's and ladies' singles, not to mention the men's doubles with Jamie Murray and Brazilian Bruno Soares.

While Miami applauded one emerging superstar, it also got to see two of the greats of the game meeting again as Roger Federer beat Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-4 in the men's final.

It was Federer's third title of the year and having also won the Australian Open and Indian Wells, the 35-year old may harbour serious ambitions of returning to the world number one spot.

For Nadal, this was a third defeat in as many finals this year so far. However, the fact that he is reaching them suggests that, like Federer, he will be a big threat at Wimbledon.

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