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January 1, 2018
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
J. KONTA/M. Keys
4-6, 6-4, 6-3
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Particularly given the quality of your opponent, that must be a great way to start the year.
JOHANNA KONTA: Definitely. And I think both of us going into the match knew it was a tough match to have in the first round of any tournament. And, yeah, so I knew going into it that I was going to be facing a tough opponent.
And just really felt that I was, yeah, excited, actually, to play again. Obviously, I haven't played for a little while. So to get the chance to play such a high-quality match so early on is only a good thing to me. So I'm very happy with that.
And to be able to come through in a three-set match as well and to get that much court time, it's a good thing.
Q. Thank you for coming in before doubles.
JOHANNA KONTA: Oh, yes. Thank you.
Q. And first match with Michael Joyce. Just wondering how you two came together and how that partnership is going so far?
JOHANNA KONTA: So far it's going well. We have been working together since roughly the beginning of December, so roughly about a month now.
Once my previous coaching setup ended, I decided I wanted to take my time and really kind of see what my options were. So I guess it was put out that I was looking, and then we had names come in, and I kind of made a short list. And then I contacted a few of them, and I felt like I really clicked with Michael, and now we're here.
Q. What has he brought to your game? Anything particularly unique or different about your partnership?
JOHANNA KONTA: It's still early days. There's only so much you can do in five, six weeks.
But I think definitely one thing that I'm sure of is he comes with a lot of experience as also a player. And he talks about his experiences on court, which I think is only valuable to someone like me who is still playing.
I think he also quite understands me as a player and how I look to compete out there and how to play. So I think he's helping me, I think, immediately right now to just reassert myself and how I want to play.
Q. You know, players are supposed to have a little bit of rust in their first few matches. Today, where did you feel like there was rust and where did you feel like it was better than you might have expected for your first match of the season?
JOHANNA KONTA: Well, I guess I was fortunate enough that I had almost like a half buffer in Thailand with the two matches I had there. Obviously, they're not the same in terms of the emotions and the general nerves and anxiety that you experience during competitive matches, but at least it was a bit of a stepping stone to today.
But I guess because of the level of my opponent, it did raise the level of the match itself, and I think both of us kind of were violently pushed into not being rusty. Although, it does come out still in little areas and in the 30-Alls or in the 30s.
Or I think more than anything I feel it more personally with maybe concentration levels. Like, I always feel like I need to bring myself back, my train of thought back a little bit. You kind of wander.
But, yeah, and then obviously a little bit of nerves and excitement as comes with every match and as you come closer to the end of matches.
Q. I don't know if you saw the news that Slams are changing to only 16 seeds starting next year.
JOHANNA KONTA: Is that confirmed?
Q. Yeah. As of now, that's the plan for 2019. And so this was a -- you had a first-round match here with two top 20 players and that could become a lot more common at even bigger tournaments even. What do you think of that rule change? You said you were violently thrown into competing. It might feel more violent at a Slam.
JOHANNA KONTA: Yeah. I mean, I don't -- I was aware that there was talk of that. I didn't realize that it was confirmed.
I don't really know the reasons behind it. I mean, I can kind of guess they -- yeah, actually, I can't really guess either. I don't really understand it, to be honest. I don't really understand it.
But the sport is always looking to try and stay current, stay relevant, stay exciting. We are at the mercy of also the spectators and the consumer. So I think they're just trying to do the best that they can and keeping that in mind and, therefore, keeping our sport as prestigious and as, yeah, as big as it is.
Q. Ajla Tomljanovic. What do you make of her as an opponent?
JOHANNA KONTA: Well, I haven't seen her play too much in the recent couple years just because I know she has struggled with injury.
But she's a good player, I do know that, because previous to that and through juniors I know she's always been a good player. And she's had some good wins and some good results in the WTA events.
So I think it's going to be a tough match. It's still early in the season. Everyone is still trying to find their footing, and I'm in that boat as well, probably a lot more so than some of the players having finished a bit earlier than everyone else, almost everyone else.
But, yeah, I think it's another great opportunity for me to have another match and to keep, yeah, keep getting those points under my belt.
Q. How difficult were the conditions out there today?
JOHANNA KONTA: It was very humid. Yeah, that's probably the best. It's just very humid out there. We're fortunate enough on center not to be in direct sunlight, although a little bit at the end, but nothing like if we were outside.
But, yeah, it's steamy.
Q. You seemed to cope pretty well with it.
JOHANNA KONTA: I think I -- I feel like I have my protocol that I follow to try and stay the best form that I can, hydrating well, making sure that I keep my energy levels up.
But, yeah, it's -- yeah, it's not easy for anyone out there.
Q. So is it physically taxing for you to go out now and play a doubles match?
JOHANNA KONTA: It's not too bad. I mean, I think when I signed up to play doubles this week that's also what you sign up for. That is a possibility and a probability of you playing two matches in the same day.
What's fortunate with us with doubles right now is obviously there's no-ad scoring and it's a third-set, 10-point tiebreak, so there's only so long I will be out there for.
But, yeah, again, I'm looking to play as much as I can, especially in the first week of the year having not played for around three months.
So, yeah. I'm looking forward to it.
Q. Did it weigh on your mind at all that you hadn't won a match in a while?
JOHANNA KONTA: Well, I won one of my matches in Thailand. So I didn't --
Q. Was that early, that Thailand win, then?
JOHANNA KONTA: To be honest, I mean, obviously you do take confidence and you do take match fitness from coming through matches, from winning matches. And if you do through a period where you are not able to do that, obviously, it's a little tougher to feel that assertive of things. So I definitely went through that.
And I think, yeah, for sure. It feels good to come through a match like that, especially in three sets and especially like someone like her.
But I never lost faith in my ability. And I think every player goes through periods in their career, multiple times, where things aren't turning out the way that you want them to.
Q. Basic question. You're all clear on the foot? You're good?
JOHANNA KONTA: So I'm as good as it's going to get, I think. I'm not faced with any of the pain or, like, the bigger issues that I was having.
My nerve is still, like, alert. It's still there and it's still much more superficial than it technically should be. But that's just, I think, maybe my physical makeup there now.
But so far it's been good. And, again, it's a monitoring thing and looking to take care of it and do the right things. But I've also got a protocol in place if something were to happen, knock on wood.
Q. Sounds like it's management --
JOHANNA KONTA: Management.
Q. -- of the injury?
JOHANNA KONTA: Yeah, management, but it's definitely -- it's nothing close to what I was experiencing end of last year.
Q. What do you make of her play? Madison?
JOHANNA KONTA: Of Madison?
Q. I mean, what was your game plan going into it and how do you think the actual match played out? Because she's a daunting player to play. Big serve, doesn't give you much rhythm.
JOHANNA KONTA: I think you just answered your own question.
Q. So if you can repeat that back.
JOHANNA KONTA: Well, I mean, like you said, she's a player with a big game. And, again, like you said, she doesn't give you much rhythm.
Q. Big serve.
JOHANNA KONTA: Big serve, exactly. And then she actually served very well today, especially in the first and second set. She really served big.
And, yeah, so, I mean, with any player like that, you go in knowing that there's going to be certain parts of the match and certain points that are just going to be completely out of your control and you're kind of just there as a prop.
But I knew that I was going to have opportunities to work, work my way into points and work my way into rallies and to string them together. And I just trusted in my strength to be able to be out there as long as I needed to to kind of bully my way into the match.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports