Thursday 18 January 2018

Difficult to find weakness in Konta’s game, claims coach

Johanna Konta. Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images
Johanna Konta. Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Simon Briggs

For Johanna Konta’s coach Wim Fissette, it is a relief to be preparing the British No 1 for matches these days rather than working in the opposite camp.

Before joining Konta in the off-season, Fissette had worked with Kim Clijsters, Simona Halep and Victoria Azarenka. But as an outsider looking in, he never found it easy to spy chinks in Konta’s armour.

“I saw her play in 2015 for the first time,” Fissette said. “And I was impressed. When I had to analyse her, it was very difficult to find a weakness. On a good day she scores from forehands and backhands, she has a good serve, a very offensive return. You really are a bit dependent on her level. If she’s playing at her best, it’s difficult to beat her.”

Fissette and Konta opted against a training session yesterday, settling for some light conditioning work ahead of today’s semi-final against Venus Williams.

“As Fissette left the All England Club yesterday afternoon, he had several hours of viewing in front of him.


“I’m going to watch the match that Johanna played against Venus Williams in Miami this year,” he said. “That was also among the top three of Johanna’s best matches, because Venus played at a high level. I felt like Venus really wanted to win that match [which Konta won by a 6-4, 7-5 scoreline] because Miami is almost like a home tournament for her and Serena.

“I will also watch Venus’s quarter-final against [Jelena] Ostapenko. Then I will send Johanna a message of the game-plan tonight, and a few mental pointers. And we will speak about it five minutes before she goes on court, so that she is very clear in her mind.”

By contrast with Konta’s quarter-final, which produced a contrast of styles against the defensively-minded Halep, we can expect a barn-burner today.

“Venus is similar to Johanna,” said Fissette. “She has a big serve, is very offensive on the baseline. I think it’s going be a very close match. It’s important to serve well at big points, and to return well at big points – which is something Johanna didn’t do really well against Halep.

“If you feel that you have the ball on your racket and you’re well in balance, you can go for a lot. If not, you should just try to hit the ball neutral.

That’s a balance Johanna is still trying to find. We have a few more things that we are working on, so she will only get better. If Johanna plays well, it’s going to be tough for Venus.” (©Daily Telegraph, London)

Women’s semi-finals, live, BBC/eir Sport, from 1pm

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