NEWS

Johanna Konta explains decision to change coach

December 13, 2017

Johanna Konta has outlined the reasons behind her decision to change coach from Belgian Wim Fissette to American Michael Joyce.

Speaking to BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller, the world number nine said the partnership with Fissette had been a good one, but that it had "ran its natural course".

She elaborated: "I think we definitely had a great season in many ways, but I definitely think that we both felt that for both of us to get better we just weren't really suited for each other any more. So we just made the decision to go our separate ways, but I'm definitely looking forward to seeing him on tour.  

Konta explained that as a player she is still learning what it takes to get to the top, remarking: "I definitely feel that through this process I'm also learning more about what I feel I need, and it's more of a trial-and-error basis."

Asked if she liked change because it gave her new things to work on or whether she preferred long-term partnerships, the 2017 Wimbledon semi-finalist admitted: "in an ideal world I definitely look to build strong relationships." She noted that many of her team have been with her a long time, having worked with her physio for a decade and her fitness trainer for three years. She would therefore seek "longevity" with the "right person". 

Konta said she has started well with Joyce, who most recently worked with former world number one Viktoria Azarenka and had a highly successful partnership with Maria Sharapova that took her to the top. 

British fans booking corporate hospitality packages for the Championships, Wimbledon might note that Andy Murray had several different coaches before he found the winning formula with Ivan Lendl. Their two spells together coincided with Murray's three Grand Slam wins, two Olympic victories and rise to world number one, but at present it appears the Scot is happy to stick with Jamie Delgado.

If Konta has made the right choice with Joyce, fans will have great reasons to be excited about the year ahead. Having won two of her three tour titles with Fissette in 2017, further improvements could see a player who has reached two Grand Slam semi-finals and rise to fourth in the WTA rankings take the necessary step up to get to the very top. 
 
The partnership between Joyce and Konta was made possible partly because his opportunity to work with Azarenka was stymied due to a custody battle over her son that has left her obliged by a judge to stay in California until the legal case is settled. 

However, it has emerged that she is now among the names included in the Australian Open draw. Taking her circumstances into account, tournament organisers have issued the two-time singles champion with a wildcard. 

Before that, she will be starting her 2018 season at the ASB Classic in Auckland.

If her off-court matters have been settled or soon will be, it means fans at Wimbledon can also look forward to seeing Azarenka return to SW19 next summer.

Image: Kevin Lee / Stringer / Getty from Keith Prowse subscription

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