Sunday, July 25, 2021

Johanna Konta claims Viking Open in Nottingham to seal her first title since 2017 | Tennis News


Johanna Konta’s preparation for Wimbledon can not have gone any better after she won her fourth WTA Tour title by claiming the Viking Open in Nottingham on Sunday; the British No 1 said: “It is very hard to win tournaments, so I know how fortunate I am”

Last Updated: 13/06/21 4:17pm

British No 1 Johanna Konta emulates Sue Barker by winning a grass-court singles event in this country

British No 1 Johanna Konta emulates Sue Barker by winning a grass-court singles event in this country

Johanna Konta became the first British woman to win a grass-court singles event in 40 years after claiming the Viking Open title in Nottingham.

Konta had not won a tournament since the Miami Open in 2017, but she put that right by beating Chinese player Zhang Shuai 6-2 6-1 in Sunday’s final.

In winning she became the first British woman to win a singles event in this country since Sue Barker in 1981 and it came after two previous defeats in the final at this event.

“It’s quite an amazing stat. One person gets to win the tournament at the end of the week, so the odds aren’t in anyone’s favour really,” Konta said.

“It’s hard to win tournaments, so that’s why I felt very grateful. To do it in front of a home crowd on the grass, it’s an experience I haven’t had yet and I’m really grateful to be having right now.

“But it is an experience I haven’t had before and I am very grateful. The opportunities to win titles are tough to come by and to actually win them is even tougher.

“A lot of things have to come together for it to be at home. I also know how hard I work to create this opportunity for myself so I feel very proud of myself for that. Overall I am happy.”

The 30-year-old had only won three matches in 2021 before this week, but the run of five successive victories will stand her in good stead for the upcoming Wimbledon tournament.

Zhang, ranked 46 in the world, was her toughest opponent of the tournament, but Konta put her to the sword, dropping just three games.

Konta adds Nottingham to her WTA titles in Stanford, Sydney and Miami

Konta adds Nottingham to her WTA titles in Stanford, Sydney and Miami

Konta said this title held extra significance because the trophy is named after Elena Baltacha, the former British No 1 who died from cancer in 2014 who had a big impact on Konta in the early part of her career.

“I knew her as a young girl as a teenager and in my early 20s,” she added. “For me it was just whenever I spoke to her, going for dinner in New York during the US Open, I remember her during the Fed Cup, watching her compete at Wimbledon, she was fierce, proud and hard working.

“She had a lot of qualities that I find very inspirational and value a lot in fellow competitors and human beings.

“She impacted a lot of people in incredibly positive ways. When we lose someone like that in any walk of life but especially in sport you feel that.

“I played those two finals earlier and I knew this trophy had her name on it.

“This trophy does mean a bit more to me because is in remembrance of her. It is just really great to remember her here and in the sport.”

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