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July 5, 2017

Johanna Konta

Wimbledon, London, England

J. KONTA/D. Vekic

7-6, 4-6, 10-8

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Leaving aside the fact you won, which was obviously great, did you feel that was one of the best matches you ever played in, quality of tennis, excitement?
JOHANNA KONTA: Well, definitely one of the most epic matches I have been a part of. I think both myself and Donna played very well. Whoever was going to -- both of us deserved to win. I think it was one of those matches where, yeah, it was going to just be decided at the very last minute.

I feel very fortunate to have come through that. So, yeah, it was a great battle to be a part of.

Q. It was so tight, wasn't it? Swung one way and then swung another way. Was there ever a point where you thought, I'm in trouble there?
JOHANNA KONTA: Quite honestly, I really just tried to see the constructive and the positive things that I was doing and also accept the good things that she was doing, because she was doing very, very many good things. She was serving well. She was moving well. It was not easy to -- I think both of us had to work quite hard for every single point unless we hit aces, which there were plenty, I think.

Yeah, I mean, I feel I competed well. I feel that even when the momentum shifted slightly to her side of the court, I still was competitive, and I still felt I kept my mind quite light and just really tried to, yeah, keep going.

However long it took, I wanted to be out there competing for every single minute of it.

Q. There has been some controversy of the number of people that have dropped out in the first round after not playing very much tennis at all. They have still come away with a lot of prize money. Some of them, despite being injured and dropping out, are now going to play in the doubles matches and get some more prize money from that. Do you think that's fair? Is it controversial? Do you think it should stop?
JOHANNA KONTA: I think it's possibly a rule book issue that I'm sure will be assessed as things like that happen. You've got to keep in mind that the players also do work very hard to be in the position they are in, but there is also a responsibility to the fans.

So I think it's something that will sort itself out with time. But that's really all I can say about that.

Q. It was obviously quite a draining match for you, and particularly emotionally difficult for Donna at the end. Did you have a word with her at the net? What can you say to an opponent at that point?
JOHANNA KONTA: I think after such a battle, you kind of feel both your own and her emotions, because there wasn't much separating us, for example, me being in her position and her being in mine. So because there was so little separation of going either way, I think you almost do end up feeling a little bit of both, or I do, anyway. I could easily put myself in her shoes and feel what she was feeling.

It was more of a sense of kind of congratulating her and us for the battle that we presented on Centre Court, which was, I think, was a great atmosphere to be a part of.

And then also just to understand also what she was feeling, because as players, we have all been in that position, as well.

Q. Given the conditions and the length of that match, the nature of it, you must be pleased with the way you came through after your fall last week.
JOHANNA KONTA: Well, I have definitely firmly put that behind me. I recovered well from that, and I took things one step at a time, but as soon as the events started here and I felt I was ready to compete, I have been in that mindset. I haven't looked back or thought back about that.

Q. I know you moved up from Eastbourne up to London at the end of last year. I was wondering how you're finding kind of Putney and whether being up here has changed the way you prepare generally for kind of tournaments and things and your training or whatever. Has it changed the way you do things at all?
JOHANNA KONTA: Well, I actually haven't moved up, like, kind of in that sense that I was obviously training at the National Tennis Centre for years. I have been training in London for years and years and years, almost 12 years. So that hasn't changed in any way for me. I still enjoy going home to Eastbourne to see mum and dad.

But in terms of preparation, everything has probably been pretty much the same for the last 12 years.

Q. It's shaping up to be a great day in British tennis today. We haven't had four Brits in the third round since '97, and not since '86 have there been two women in the third round. Is there any reason or explanation you can give for that? Do you have a special feeling about this year?
JOHANNA KONTA: I mean, I think the reasons for that is because we have got great players. I think that's probably a good enough reason.

Explanation-wise, again, I mean, same thing. I think all, not just the Brits, but all the players work very hard to make it into the second, third, fourth quarters, latter stages of every tournament. So I think it's a great movement to be a part of personally for me. And also something that I'm sure is very exciting to the spectators that are coming to the Championships this year. I think that would be something that would be very exciting for them, as well.

Q. How are your encounters with the flying ants today? Lots of players have been affected by them.
JOHANNA KONTA: Well, there were many. It was interesting. It kind of went in stages. At one point there was a lot, and then actually towards the end of the match, I don't think there were that many. But I definitely have taken home a few both in my belly and in my bags.

Q. Swallowed a few?
JOHANNA KONTA: I'm pretty sure I have.

Q. Tasty?
JOHANNA KONTA: I didn't think about it. I'd rather not.

Q. Just in terms of the crowd, there were some fantastic volume they got to in the third set in particular. Can you compare that to sort of maybe playing Fed Cup or anything? Is there anything like that that you have experienced like that on that level?
JOHANNA KONTA: Well, I think, Centre Court at Wimbledon, but any center court any of the slams is an electric kind of stage to play on. Obviously for me personally, being on a home Centre Court is pretty special. And the crowd are what also make that special for me, their support for us.

I think for both Donna and myself the appreciation that they showed, the battle that we showcased, I think that was pretty amazing.

Q. You have had considerable breakthroughs elsewhere. Do you see this as a big breakthrough at Wimbledon? First time you have been in the third round. You have had tough draws in the past. Played Sharapova on Centre, Bouchard, and today. Do you see this as a bit of a turning point for you at Wimbledon?
JOHANNA KONTA: I'm seeing it as I get to be still involved in the Championships. I will be working very hard to continue being involved in the event.

I don't really believe in breakthroughs or turning points, and I don't look at my career in that sense. I look at it as continuous building and continuous work in every single match and practice that I have.

But I feel very fortunate to have had the encounters that I have had in this event over the years. And even this year, you know, I feel very lucky for the players that I've got to play, because they have challenged me and tested me in so many great ways that only I think adds to my depth as a player, as a person, that hopefully I can again reinvest into other matches that I will play in the future.

Q. Much has been made of the importance of Centre Court to British players. Did you feel the crowd really took you to their hearts today, and that's something you can work on and use going forward?
JOHANNA KONTA: I absolutely love playing in front of Brit crowds. It does make it that much more when you get to play at home and to have the home support. Not many players get a home slam, so I feel very fortunate about that.

The atmosphere out there today I think spoke for itself and how they kind of lived and died with the match, as well.

Q. Is there a moment that stood out where you felt that warmth, particularly? Was there one moment you felt they were helping you?
JOHANNA KONTA: No, I think it was throughout the match equally. However, it was very warming to see also at the end their appreciation for both of us.

Q. To go back to the retiring issue, there were seven men that retired in the first round for only one woman. Radwanska said earlier that women have tough mentality, which is why they may be less likely to quit. Do you agree with that?
JOHANNA KONTA: We're tough as nails (smiling).

Again, I think -- I can't comment. I have never been -- I don't know. I can't comment on that, really. I don't know.

I mean, hopefully, knock on wood, I will never be in that position. Again, I think it's a rule book thing. I think what I said before, it's important to see how the players do work hard to be at this stage, as well. However, there also needs to be a responsibility towards the ticket holders and what they also are paying to come see.

I think it's something that will be reassessed, I'm sure.

Q. We have heard from quite a few former players, and you can be a champion here. You're a real contender. Maybe put a question mark over just how you handle the pressure of a home tournament. I wonder if you think today, a nail biter showed that you can handle that pressure?
JOHANNA KONTA: You guys keep talking about this pressure, and I guess I keep sounding like a broken record, but for me, pressure is a very self-imposed thing. I'm approaching this event like I am every other event. I'm coming here to do the best that I can, to compete the best I can. I think I showed that today, like I did in my other round.

Like I did, I believe, in 99% of the matches I've played, I look to do the best that I can, and I'm hoping to be involved here for the full two weeks.

But again, what was shown today, there is no easy match, there is no easy opponents. Every single woman in the draw can play at a very high level on any given day. I'm just really enjoying these challenges and tests that I'm being faced with.

Q. After a battle like today does fatigue become a concern for you moving forward? Or does the success of coming through it, a result like that, give you...
JOHANNA KONTA: I think at a slam we are in the fortunate position where we play every second day, and I'm not involved in the doubles or the mixed here. So I get that day completely basically to do with it what I wish.

So that's a nice position to be in. Keeping in mind we also work, or I personally work physically, mentally very hard to hopefully one day be involved in a Grand Slam event for the full two weeks. So I'd like to think that physically I'm prepared. Then again, this is a very draining period of the year. Every event, every slam is quite draining.

But I'm enjoying it and I'm doing everything I can to recover well. I'm also shaking a little bit here because I was in the ice bath and haven't warmed up quite yet. I'm doing everything I can to be prepared for the next round.

Q. You said when the momentum shifted against you you tried to keep your mind light. I just wondered how you do that and what you think of what the process is?
JOHANNA KONTA: I mean, personally, I look to just keep a good perspective. Appreciate the level that my opponent was playing. Acknowledge that, you know, some of the things, you know, weren't completely under my control. I think that also reinforced for me the good things I was doing and trusting in those things.

That just keeps my mindset quite clear, and in turn light, or that's kind of how I describe it.

Q. In the third set today, looked like there was never going to be a break of serve. What do you think made the crucial difference that meant you got that break in the end?
JOHANNA KONTA: I think that break could have come either way, either for her or for me.

I think both of us were in a position that we were getting close to breaking the other's serve. Both of us had some Love-30s, and I think --

Q. Did you stay mentally stronger than Donna in that moment?
JOHANNA KONTA: Honestly, I don't know. All I know is that I cannot comment on how she was feeling or her mental strength.

I definitely looked to again keep a good perspective, to enjoy the moment, enjoy the battle that I was a part of.

And then really just trying to stick as close to my game plan as I could. Once it steps over the three-hour mark there is a number of other battles that are going. And I was just looking to really apply myself to each point and, you know, accumulate enough to come through in the end.

Q. Talking about the cycle and strength needed for today, could you talk to us a bit about the specific preparations that you do before an event like this? Because we saw this morning you handed out homemade cupcakes to your team and I wonder if that's soothing you psychologically.
JOHANNA KONTA: No, that had nothing to do with my psychological state of mind. Me handing out cupcakes was because it was the second time -- it was actually muffins. It was the second time I have ever made muffins in my life. I was really, really looking forward to trying it out on my guinea pigs. It came back positive, so that has given me, I guess, that much more confidence to search for and make some more creations. Maybe not just vanilla, maybe chocolate chip or banana muffins.

Q. You're obviously familiar with Donna's game from having played her quite recently. How much do you know about your next opponent and how do you prepare for somebody you probably don't know too much about?
JOHANNA KONTA: Who is my next opponent?

Q. Sakkari.
JOHANNA KONTA: Okay. I always find who I'm playing next with you guys. Great.

I have never played her before. I have seen her around over the last couple of years. She's a good player. She's in the third round, as well. So she's played well to get to that stage, as well. I'm sure she's had some battles.

To be honest, obviously we are still digesting this round and I'm still focused on recovering from this match.

But then when the time will come, I will talk about my next opponent with my team and we will get prepared for that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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