NEWS

Johanna Konta seeks new coach after ending season

October 19, 2017

Johanna Konta has ended her season to rest a foot injury - and plans to start 2018 with a new coach.

The world number ten has enjoyed another year of progress and impressive performances under Wim Fisette, which included rising as high as number four in the WTA rankings and reaching the semi-finals at The Championships, Wimbledon. However, her form has declined in the second half of the year and a string of recent defeats has led to her failing to qualify for the WTA tour finals in Singapore.

However, after a year together their partnership is no more, with the player saying: "Wim Fissette and I have mutually decided to end our working relationship.

"Things ended very amicably and I wish Wim all the best. We've achieved a lot together and I want to thank him for all his patience, hard work and expertise."

The termination of Konta's partnership with the Belgian comes as she confirmed she will sit out the rest of the season because of her recent foot injury. The Eastbourne-based star said: "My foot is improving but it is still advisable to rest it further."

Although she will miss the big event in Singapore, Konta could have remained available as a reserve in case any of the qualifiers had to withdraw through injury, while she could also have played in the second-string WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai, China.

However, she has taken a longer view, commenting: "Both are amazing events and I will really miss being part of them but I want to make sure I am fully fit to start preparations for what I hope will be an exciting 2018 season."

Konta may be changing coach, but the rest of her team - hitting partner Andrew Fitzpatrick, strength and conditioning specialist Gill Myburgh, physio Milly Mirkovic, and mental coach Elena Sosa - will stay in place. 

She added: "I will be working with my team over the coming weeks to find the right way forward for me and my tennis.

"The goal is to get a new coach or coaches in place as soon as possible but the focus will be on making the right decision rather than a quick decision."

By making the choice to change coach at this time, Konta may have given herself a crucial head start on any other leading players looking for a new coach. 

The task for whoever does take on the role will be to move the player on to the next level, so that she does not just reach Grand Slam semi-finals, but can go all the way and become the first British woman to win one of the biggest tournaments since the days of Virginia Wade and Sue Barker in the 1970s. 

Fans booking corporate hospitality for The Championships, Wimbledon next summer may be old enough to recall Wade's win in 1977, the last time a British woman held the Venus Rosewater dish aloft.  

Over the course of this year, Konta won two of her three career tour titles, including the WTA 1000 Miami Open, and also reached her first grass court final in the Nottingham Open.

Image: Getty, from Keith Prowse subscription

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