- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
There have been 13 different Grand Slam champions since the start of the 2017 season in women’s tennis. By way of contrast, in the men’s there have been just three – Dominic Thiem the sole player to break up the supremacy of the ‘Big Three’.
At the French Open earlier this month, an unseeded player, Barbora Krejcikova, defeated No31 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the final to highlight the open nature of the women’s game.
Britain’s Johanna Konta goes into Wimbledon as the No28 seed and would dearly love to be the 14th different Grand Slam winner in the past five seasons, and has reason to believe it is perfectly plausible.
“The depth of women’s tennis means there’s a very large group of players who have the opportunity to be a Grand Slam champion,” she said.
“I look to try to give myself every opportunity to be part of that group. I’m still working towards that, I’m still believing in that possibility. It’s exciting and enjoyable going into any tournament like that, but especially a Slam.”
A former Wimbledon semi-finalist, Konta feels at home on grass, as exemplified by her recent win at Nottingham, her first title in four years, a timely confidence boost in the build-up to Wimbledon.
“I haven’t won a title in a few years,” she said. “So, I’m pleased with that.”
In a perfect world, the British No1 would have preferred more game time before Wimbledon but pulled out of Eastbourne as a precaution because of her knee, an ongoing problem in recent seasons and one exacerbated by the nuances of the grass.
“Ideally, I’d love to have played in Eastbourne,” admitted the Jaguar ambassador. “But everything’s fine, it’s just about managing the body well. It’s a constant process of me looking after my body and it’s no secret about the challenges with my knee. But I’ve done a lot of good work and I’m feeling good.
“It’s just the change in surfaces is quite tough [from clay to grass] and the grass is a little tougher – it’s stickier and you’re in flex a lot more with the lower bounces so it’s a little bit more of a challenge.”
Just a month into her 30s, the start to that decade has already proved a positive one. As well as winning the Nottingham title, her boyfriend Jackson proposed to her.
A month on from the engagement, Konta said: “It was a very nice moment. I think it was one of those moments that was both a surprise but wasn’t. I like to think that he thought he’d get the right answer but he did get a bit nervous!”
He will be part of her Wimbledon bubble – each player is allowed just three accreditations for their entourage as part of the Covid restrictions at SW19.
And as a British player, Konta is relishing the easing of restrictions in terms of spectator numbers. Wimbledon opens at 50 per cent capacity on Monday but will be full by the final days.
“I think everyone expected it to be cancelled last year with what was happening in the world,” Konta said, “but when that period rolled around it was still an odd feeling as it’s such a staple of our summer.
“To have Wimbledon back, it’s going to almost feel like a bit of normality. I’m just looking forward to having fans back. We’re very privileged to have a home Slam and fans help bring back that excitement, you feel the crowd’s energy.”