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May 16, 2017

Johanna Konta

Rome, Italy

J. KONTA/Y. Putintseva

6-3, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What was the difference between the first and second sets after quite a few unforced errors in the first and pretty clinical in the second?
JOHANNA KONTA: I think you just answered your own question (smiling).

Well, I think I need a bit of time to also find my footing in the match, and I think with most matches, although you get the odd one where you start off really well, I think generally that was my first round, you need to play yourself a little bit into the match and into the tournament.

So I think that was a bit of the case, and I felt that my level did improve, especially at the beginning of that second set pretty much through to the end. Overall, I think there wasn't too much in it. I think scoreline-wise, it doesn't really represent, one, the length of the match. We played just under two hours. We had a lot of games that were very much back and forth.

So overall, I'm happy to have come through that. I think I battled quite well, and I competed well. I needed to stay mentally quite tough against someone like Yulia, as well.

Q. You said in Stuttgart you played probably one of the best matches this season and there was hardly anybody there to see it.

Q. Yeah, sorry, Madrid. But here, a packed court, Yulia seemed to struggle I think with the noise and I think with the atmosphere. You seemed to deal with it a lot better. Can you explain what it was like to play out there today?
JOHANNA KONTA: I think it's definitely different, but I kind of felt that I kind of got my head around it and it was just going to be like that, and so I got on, got the mentality of just get on with it, because it wasn't really going to change.

Yeah, there is a lot of movement around the court and in and out. I mean, it's a great court to play on. I think there is a lot of noise, obviously, but also in a good way. It does lend a lot to an atmosphere of a match. I think it was my first time on the court, so I definitely enjoyed it.

Yeah, happy to have given myself another shot to play again.

Q. Have you had that happen with a ball boy before during a match?
JOHANNA KONTA: I think so. I'm not 100% sure. We play obviously so many times in really hot climates. I wouldn't be surprised if it's happened before, but I saw him after the match and I went off and he seemed to be doing better, so I think he's fine.

Q. You have to be careful to keep your focus? I think you play matches where people have to be taken out of the audience. Is that a skill to not be distracted?
JOHANNA KONTA: I think you also have to look at the positive side of it. We were in the middle a really long game again. I think it's almost like, okay, it gives us a bit of a break, as well.

But, I mean, overall those sorts of things are part of the game as well as there is a lot of external things that are happening. It's just another opportunity to work on staying focused and work on being malleable.

Q. You played on four very different types of clay surfaces during the clay court season from Fed Cup, Stuttgart, Madrid, to here. Curious from your perspective, what set of conditions that you've experienced this season has been maybe the most comfortable to the extent that clay can be comfortable for you? Is it the altitude, is it the indoors, heavy, hot? What do you think?
JOHANNA KONTA: I think it's a difficult one to answer, because I think there are certain things that obviously lend you better in certain areas of your game. Obviously when the surface is a bit quicker, when the balls fly a bit more, you know, you generally also can maybe get more chippy points off your serve or first strikes.

When it's a bit slower, then you need to work harder for the points, but however, then less of your balls fly.

So I think it's a bit difficult to answer in that way. I mean, I have always said I do enjoy playing in sunshine and heat and these sorts of conditions, so in that perspective, I am happy, although the weather was really nice in Madrid, as well, except I didn't play my matches in sunshine. I didn't get to experience that. Obviously Stuttgart was indoors.

Yeah, it's a difficult one to answer.

Q. Bedene is playing later today and has been playing really well lately. As someone switching from Australia to playing for Britain with not many problems and he has had more issues, still getting some flack from Dan Evans and things like that, can you sympathize with his situation and other players who haven't been able to switch countries as seamlessly as you? It's been a case-by-case basis for some people, depending on whether they have had problems, where others haven't.
JOHANNA KONTA: I think with the switching of nationalities, I think it's constantly -- I think a lot of them are very case-by-case basis. I think everyone's journey is different. I think I was relatively young when I had come over to Great Britain.

Except for one stint in the Maureen Connolly Cup when I was 11 years old, I had never represented Australia in a team event before. I think I was in a different boat to Aljaz, as well. I think I also believe if someone wants to make a place their home, and if that's the place that they really connect with, like I do with my home, which is Great Britain, I think that also needs to be given a chance.

But again, it's -- yeah, it's a case-by-case basis.

Q. Speaking of team events, have you spoken to Simona or any other Romanian girls about what happened? Now they are trying to smooth things over. She had the thing with the trophy ceremony in Madrid. She's still being asked about it. Have you guys settled things at all in your own conversations?
JOHANNA KONTA: I mean, between Simona and I there was nothing to settle. I think she did a great job speaking to the crowd at the time. So there wasn't really too much to speak about. I think all of us are more keen than anything to just get on with the tour and just get on with our matches and careers.

Q. We are in a situation we don't know who exactly you will be playing next, so thoughts on both? What would it be like to play Venus here or Tsurenko?
JOHANNA KONTA: Well, I think whoever I'd be playing it will be a tough one. I know Lesia is a good player, beaten a lot of great players. She pushes a lot of highly ranked players. Ability-wise, she's very strong and has been around for quite some time as well.

Obviously, Venus, I have never actually played her on the clay, so that would be a different challenge and one that I would also look forward to.

I think every time I have played her, it's been so close and so tough. Our last match in Miami I think was one of my best performances of the year.

I think either way, whoever I'm playing, it will be another opportunity for me to try and improve on this surface.

Q. This may come under the category of things that don't matter to you, but in the race, if you count match by match, you're second. You get an extra 105 points today, I think.
JOHANNA KONTA: I love how you guys ask these questions and you know I'm not even going to give you a good answer but you'll still ask them anyway.

Well, I think -- I mean, in terms of if we are going to look at it in a process way, that's obviously something that's nice to look at, that I have been reasonably consistent throughout the season so far, and I have tried my best to, one, stay healthy, and to also consistently compete well.

But those things can change so quickly. There is still so much of the season left that the more I can really just keep myself here right now in Rome and then next tournament in Paris, the best chance I give myself to stay as close to the top of that race as possible.

Q. How much does the win over a player like the one you beat today on clay, really likes clay, made a French Open quarter last year, how much does that increase your confidence and your clay swagger? I don't know if you arrived to the season with much clay swagger, but this is a good...
JOHANNA KONTA: I mean, obviously every match and every win against players is one that I'm always going to take positives from. However, obviously against players who do feel comfortable on this surface and have spent a lot of time on the surface, that's a nice little pat on the back, as well, that I competed well against them.

I think more than anything it's more how I competed today how I'm most happy with. I think in terms of level, shot selection, that will get better with time, which hopefully I will give myself as much time on the surface as possible.

But overall I think if I'm competing well, mentally and physically on the surface, then I give myself the best chance.

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