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Jo Konta involved in heated press conference after Wimbledon defeat

Jo Konta was tetchy and defiant after another shot at Grand Slam glory ended in crushing disappointment on Tuesday.


The British No 1 insisted she would not have changed a thing as she missed out on a Wimbledon semi-final against Serena Williams by losing 7-6, 6-1 to world No 54 Barbora Strycova. 

She became embroiled in a spat with one questioner in her media conference later, accusing him of ‘patronising’ her after being asked if she had coped well enough on the big points.

‘I don’t think you need to pick on me in a harsh way,’ she said. 

‘I think I’m very open with you guys. I say how I feel out there. If you don’t want to accept that answer or you don’t agree with it, that’s fine. I still believe in the tennis that I play. I still believe in the way I competed.

‘You’re being quite disrespectful and you’re patronising me. I’m a professional competitor who did her best and that’s all there is to that. 

‘Every decision that I made, every thought process, every opportunity that I gave myself, I have no regrets in doing. I did the best that I could,’ she added after failing to hold on to a 4-1 lead in the first set.

After making the semi-final and quarter-final in her last two majors, Konta pledged to keep battling and gave credit to her opponent.

‘It was a combination of just not finding my level and her not giving me the opportunity to find it, more than anything.

‘I couldn’t quite find the level that I needed to make it difficult and challenging for the kind of player she is. I don’t have any more of a right to winning these matches than my opponents. It’s unfortunate that it’s worked out like that, in terms of how it looks on paper with the rankings.

‘I went out there, I did my best. My best just wasn’t good enough. The best I can do is put myself in the positions, to give myself the opportunity to go further. I mean, it will either happen or it won’t.

‘I’m no less of a person or a player if I don’t get past this point. Equally so, if I do, I play this game with dignity.

‘I think I’ve played a great tournament. Obviously I would have liked to have won three more matches. But I really feel that, even including this defeat, I can take a lot away from these 10 days.

‘The players that I’ve played and beaten, also lost to here, I think overall there’s a lot I can be proud of and take from it.’

American great Chris Evert said in commentary: ‘I was disappointed. Jo Konta, I gotta tell you, I watched her in the semi-finals in the French and she was looking good enough to win there.

‘Then she comes out here and she froze. Strycova broke up her rhythm.’

Johanna Konta has said death threats and social media abuse are part of everyday life for her and other women in sport.   

Fresh from her quarter-final defeat against Barbara Strycova on Tuesday, the 28-year-old said daily abuse was ‘not new to anyone’.

She said people have told her they ‘want her to die’, but tries to cut herself off from it by getting a member of her team to delete hurtful comments and block trolls.  

She said: ‘I think it’s familiar to everybody who has a social media account and who is in a sport which gets publicised.

‘I definitely have had loads of experiences, loads of people wanting me to die and things like that – I don’t think that’s new to anyone.’

When asked how she was able to divorce herself from it, she said: ‘I don’t generally look at it. I don’t really deal with it.

‘I have someone who kind of filters out and blocks and deletes the people – it’s unfortunate that it’s a part of it.’

Earlier on Tuesday, former British men’s number one Andrew Castle said he was shocked at the level of abuse female players had to deal with.

The 55-year-old said: ‘I’ve been very moved by what I’ve heard from some of them and the abuse they get.

‘I don’t know what the Women’s Tennis Association can do about it or the grand slam championships can do about it.

‘It’s not fair to say to somebody who is young and engaged in a social media setting ‘just don’t do it’ because that horse has bolted – we have to figure out ways to protect people.’

Her comments come after a straight sets defeat by Czech Republic’s Barbara Strycova, 33, in the quarter finals this afternoon. 

Konta was heard shouting ‘oh f***ing hell’ as her mistakes started stacking up and hopes of a Brit winning the championship dwindled. 

Her post-match press conference became unbearably tense when she accused the interviewer of ‘picking on her in a harsh way’ after they quizzed her on her 33 unforced errors. 

Claiming the questions were ‘disrespectful’ and that she is a ‘professional competitor who did her best’, she told the journalist: ‘Please don’t patronise me.’  

Mediators were forced to intervene as they moved awkwardly on to the next question, with the British Number One clearly still unimpressed.   

Fans in the crowd were seen with their hand in the hands as their hopes of a home win at the All England Club disappeared before their eyes.

Supporters on Murray Mount were pictured devastated as Konta walked off court with her head bowed. 

Tennis lovers on social media were quick to criticise Konta, commenting on her 22 unforced errors in the first set, which ended in her losing a tie-break and her disappointing second, losing 6-1. 

Others slammed the crowd for not giving their compatriot more support, with one tweeting: ‘Where was the support? Very low energy crowd. Jo deserved better.’  

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