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January 27, 2016

Johanna Konta

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

J. KONTA/S. Zhang

6-4, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How important was it to clinch the first set?
JOHANNA KONTA: Yeah, no, I'm very proud with how I was able to just keep focus and just keep going. You know, I didn't feel I did much wrong. She definitely raised her level and made me work for it. It was a great battle to be a part of.

Yeah, very happy I was able to pull that out at the end, and also keep as much of the momentum going as possible into the second.

Q. Are you able to just think of it as one point at a time, or do you get to moments where you think, This is a Grand Slam quarterfinal?
JOHANNA KONTA: That didn't really go through my mind actually. I felt I did quite a good job of removing any sort of occasion from the match. I really just took it as tennis match and I was competing against a really good opponent.

I just wanted to make sure I was executing to the best of my ability what I wanted to get done out there. I felt I did that.

No, I really enjoyed my time out there. Could have been a first round, could have been any round in this tournament. I really enjoyed just competing out there and dealing with the situations that arose.

Q. A little bit of tightening up at the end of the first set. Is that only natural?
JOHANNA KONTA: I didn't feel that I actually tightened up at all. I continued on the same mindset and the same game plan as I had the previous seven games.

I believe she played really well. Yeah, no, she raised her level, and that's going to happen against really good players. Yeah, no, I'm happy with how I was able to stay very present and really keep things in perspective.

If it had gone to 5-All, it wouldn't have been the end of the world.

Q. After the first round win against Venus you were saying you were just hoping to go into the match and compete. Now you're in the Grand Slam semifinal. How is the self-belief?
JOHANNA KONTA: I still approach every match exactly the same. I want to make sure that I -- that's one thing I get very excited about and anxious about, that I want to go out there and just make sure I am able to leave it all out there, whatever needs to be done.

So, yeah, happy I was able to bring a good level again today. Yeah, no, I enjoyed it.

Q. You seemed genuinely sorry for her the way it finished.
JOHANNA KONTA: Yeah, it was a bit anticlimactic, wasn't it? (Laughter.) I mean, don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change it, but...

Yeah, no, I didn't -- also I have a lot of respect for her as player. I've known her for quite some years, and I think what she achieved her is incredibly special. That's what I told her at the end of the match, that I was really happy to see her back.

Yeah, no, hopefully we'll have many more good battles to come.

Q. A lot of excitement building in the U.K.: 33 years since a British woman in a semifinal of a Grand Slam. Feeling that pressure at all or not really thinking about that?
JOHANNA KONTA: No, but the U.K. is a number of thousands of miles away and a completely different time zone, which in this case it might be quite nice.

Yeah, no, I think whatever pressure or whatever buzz there is outside it, I mean, it only affects me as much as I let it, so.

Q. Are you a dual citizen?

Q. Both Australia and Great Britain?
JOHANNA KONTA: Actually I am a tri-citizen. I've got a Hungarian passport as well. Just add that into the mix, guys. I mean, I'm pretty much the female version of Jason Borne. (Laughter.)

Q. Maybe a couple of countries that try and claim you.
JOHANNA KONTA: No. That's a really lost cause. I definitely belong to Great Britain.

Q. Jo, you probably had the element of being the favorite today; you go back to being probably the underdog against Kerber. Does that take a bit of pressure off you for the semifinal, do you think?
JOHANNA KONTA: Yeah. I mean, whether you're the favorite or the underdog, I think that's very much a circumstantial thing outside of the match that I'm playing. I don't really think about that. It's neither here nor there for me.

For me it's just about going into every match and being very clear on what I want to achieve out there and being very processor orientated and sticking to my beliefs and really the not judging myself on the results that come.

Just really make sure that I give my best out there.

Q. Tricky lefty to face.
JOHANNA KONTA: Yeah, I mean, not just lefty; she's just an incredibly good player. She's an amazing competitor. She's showed time and time again over the last numerous years.

Yeah, no, I'm going to go out there really enjoy it and enjoy the battle and hopefully, yeah, play a good level and give the crowd a good match. (Laughter.)

Q. Funny thing with Grand Slams. They get you lulled into a nice day on, day off, and then when push comes to shove you have to play two games in two days. Is that going to create a problem for you?
JOHANNA KONTA: No. No, that's absolutely fine. I mean, I think I would be a real princess if I was complaining about, Oh, I've got to play another match tomorrow.

No, I'm fine. Looking forward to it. No, whatever comes, I'm enjoying it.

Q. One of the TV commentators was saying, and maybe you've already talked about this, that at one point you were doing competitive swimming and then you ran the 400. At what point did tennis come in?
JOHANNA KONTA: That's actually both false. I didn't learn to swim until -- gosh, wow. I had a lot of ear infections when I was younger so I didn't learn to swim until I was about 14. So definitely false.

I was a decent 800 meter runner, not 400. Which I won my -- I'm actually really proud of this. I'm really proud of this. I won my school -- I beat the girls and the boys, so it was a big deal at the time; I was about 11. Then I won the district and made it to state, but I just never went because I was training and tennis was a big part of my life at that point.

So, I mean, yeah, for me it's always been tennis. I haven't really explored any other avenues.

Q. At 14 not many kids can go without their parents, and your parents took you to Britain. Was tennis part of that or your dad's job? Your tennis education?
JOHANNA KONTA: When I left Australia I started training in Barcelona. I was at the Sanchez Academy. While I was there, my parents felt that, yeah, at 13, 14 years old they didn't really want to be on the other side of the world.

And because we are Hungarian passport holders, European, they decided that they were going to, yeah, base themselves in Great Britain. After a period of time I wasn't really enjoying it in Spain anymore and I just moved home with them to the U.K.

Q. So it wasn't your dad's business that took you overseas it was your business as a tennis player?
JOHANNA KONTA: Yeah, no, it was their sacrifice for me.

Q. You've had such an incredible rise. The circuit is so competitive. What have been the key things for your rise and improvement?
JOHANNA KONTA: That's a deep question. I think it really comes down to a number of things. I think really understanding why I was playing the sport and really finding my enjoyment within the sport, really separating that enjoyment from results was a huge factor.

Because I think if you live and die with your wins and losses, it's an incredibly tough lifestyle to live. So I think really separating myself from that gave me a lot of enjoyment and perspective. And actually, the fact that I hit a yellow ball across the net in some lines gave me some peace also, to realize that I am also working on myself for post tennis.

I'm going to have a whole -- there is a whole rest of my life once I retire from tennis, whenever that may be. Hopefully not for a number of years. Hopefully I stay nice and healthy.

Yeah, no, I just really honest with myself and put things in perspective.

Q. What did tennis have that the 800 meters did not have that made you stick with tennis?
JOHANNA KONTA: Well, 800 meter running was never an avenue. It was something that I did through school. That was it really. That was the beginning of the end of my 800 meter career.

Q. You were better at tennis?
JOHANNA KONTA: I played tennis since I was eight years old and I'd run two races at school. There is no comparison really.

Q. No desire it do a Caroline Wozniacki and run a marathon in the middle of your tennis year?
JOHANNA KONTA: Never say never, but as of now, no that hasn't been high on my priority list.

Q. You're doing a remarkable job ever keeping the enormity of your achievement out of it and concentrating on matches. Is there a danger you might not be living the dream here? What you're doing is so many people's dream, Grand Slam semifinal. Is there a danger you're also too calculated or too focused about it to really appreciate it?
JOHANNA KONTA: Don't get me wrong, I'm incredibly humble and grateful for the position that I'm in. Trust me, I understand how much this means to my family, to the people that have stuck by me through years and years and years of ups and downs.

But in terms of what it means to me, I'm just so happy that I'm enjoying what I'm doing. That is me living my dream. You know, yeah, when I was a little girl I dreamt of winning Grand Slams and being No. 1 in the world. That dream stays the same I think as long as you're doing the career that you're on.

I think it would be silly for that to change. That's what I started this sport; that's why I'm still in this sport. But to not live and die by your wins and losses, it's very important to take your enjoyment and take your positivity from things that you have control over, or as much control as possible.

Otherwise, yeah, you come into the danger of having very highs and lows, which is not a nice place to be. Middle ground is nice.

Q. I think the first match you played against Venus was your first time in Rod Laver.

Q. How settled are you now playing on a big stage like that?
JOHANNA KONTA: It was incredibly comfortable the first day I stepped out there. I had hit on it a couple years ago actually with Venus a number years ago now. So I had stepped foot on there. Not with a crowd inside obviously, so it is a different vibe.

I've been fortunate enough that I've had experiences on Arthur Ashe and Centre Court at Wimbledon last year. Every experience I have, it's just more cards under my belt kind of thing of experiences that I've -- experience -- Oh, my God. Don't say "experience" one more time.

So, yeah, no, I really enjoy it out there. I think's a wonderful court to play on. We've been lucky enough that the crowd has been amazing.

Q. Which is the favorite of your courts?
JOHANNA KONTA: Oooooo, Wimbledon. No, I love US Open. I've never been shy to admit that. It is my favorite slam in terms of the vibe of New York really, the craziness of it. But then Wimbledon is pretty special. I'm at home. So, yeah, no, it's a tough one.

Q. Did you cross paths with Andy after your match?
JOHANNA KONTA: I saw him walk on. Yeah, but that's it.

Q. There is Murray's Mound and it was previously Henman's Hill. If you go all the way this year at the Australian Open, is there something we can expect to be named in your honor?
JOHANNA KONTA: I mean, I can't think of anything starting with a J or K, so I don't know.

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