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August 25, 2020

Johanna Konta

New York, New York, USA

Press Conference

J. KONTA/V. Zvonareva

6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I wanted to ask you about Thomas, your new coach, what he's brought to the team since he's come in. How did you get in touch with him, first of all, how you established the communication?

JOHANNA KONTA: Well, obviously it's still very early days. I mean, this is the third week I have spent with him. So in terms of what he's bringing to the table, I think it's very much a work in progress.

I think we are still trying to figure out on how we work together. I'm listening intently to him on kind of his view on things, on court for me and just in general. So I'm enjoying that progress of just getting to know each other for now.

In terms of getting in touch, it was through my agents. Basically when Dimitri and I stopped, it was just about I guess opening up options on communications, seeing who was available, and they were the ones that brought names to me.

Q. What in particular were you pleased about executing out there?

JOHANNA KONTA: I think more than anything just adapting to how she was playing. And also the conditions, they were quite tricky. She's a very tricky player to play, as well.

It was quite blustery out there. The wind was definitely moving the ball around. And also, her balls can be quite tricky to adapt to, as well.

I was happy overall in how I was playing with the conditions out there and my opponent. And really just finding the court and opening the court up, I thought I did that well. I think I also served quite well today, as well, especially under the conditions.

Yeah, overall pleased on how I was able to compete very consistently from the first point to the last point.

Q. Given that you might be playing Serena next, what do you make of that amazing match you played against her in San Jose a couple years when you gave her only the one game?

JOHANNA KONTA: To be honest, I don't remember matches very well. Obviously I remember playing her and winning that match, but then also I played her I think the year before in Australia in the quarters there.

So I think, to be honest, I'm not really -- if I do play her, I'm not going to go on court thinking how I played against her two years ago or even kind of three years ago, three-and-a-half years ago.

I think it will be very much on the level that she brings and that I bring on the day. I mean, you know, I think it's Serena (smiling). So it's not like you're going to have a very clear game plan. It's just about being there and for me to bring the best level that I can, be as competitive as I can, and just look for the opportunities as the match would flow and try to create as many opportunities as I can.

She's got a very tough match against Maria, as well. Who knows? If I play Serena, it will be a great privilege to be able to play her again, just to really do my best against her.

Q. A follow-up on the San Jose match, was there not a part of you, even though you are a highly ranked professional tennis player in your own right, you just swept her off the court, you gave her one game, greatest player of all time, did you ever just think, Wow, that is something I'm going to remember for the rest of my life?

JOHANNA KONTA: No, not specifically. You know, I think it's been shown time and time again that any player in the top of the game can play very well on any given day.

I obviously played very well on that day. I don't remember, but I assume she didn't play that well that day, either. So it could have been a tale of two ends, even, which is common and it happens all the time with other matchups, as well.

So, no, I wouldn't call it massively kind of memorable or very specifically stands out in my mind, also because of the setting it was. It wasn't one of our huge tournaments. It wasn't in one of the later rounds of a slam. It was, I think, second round or first round? Second round?

So, yeah, I think those kind of memorable matches are also very much dependent on the setting and the scene that you're playing in.

Q. I was doing a feature on the fountain area and the beach chairs and games around there and the cabana. I was walking around and didn't see a lot of players using it. Have you laid out at all in the sun? What do you think of that whole setup with all of those games around the fountain and the beach chairs and stuff and what they are trying to do with getting players to be outside more?

JOHANNA KONTA: I mean, I think the intentions are good. Obviously it's better for us to be in kind of open spaces. I guess the trickiness is the weather. It's very hot. So I think people in general, players especially, they are not going to be looking to sunning themselves before they go on court and also after.

We spend quite a bit of time obviously in the sun playing and training, so once we finish, I think everyone is just looking to get out of the sun and also get off-site. I think that's probably why it's been quite quiet.

But I do think it might have been a little bit busier in kind of the week before when it was more of a training week and players weren't playing yet. But, yeah, I think the intentions are good.

I have given a go at Cornhole and the little putt-putt golf thing. I tried to shoot some hoops. That didn't go very well. Yeah, no, I think players are also enjoying the games that are there.

Q. Laura Robson was surprisingly blunt on commentary tonight saying that she thought that Thomas, quoting her, seems like a very weird choice for me to pair with Jo because they are so individual and so dead set on whatever they think is best. I just wondered, in relation to that, one, what your response to that was, and two, do you think that you and Thomas, you might have to change your approach to things a bit for the partnership to work?

JOHANNA KONTA: Well, obviously I didn't know that. I didn't hear the commentary of what goes on when I play. But, I mean, Laura doesn't know me very well and I don't know her very well. I think she's just basing that on what she knows of me and maybe her seeing around, which is fair enough.

I don't know how well she knows Thomas. I don't know whether she's worked with Thomas, so I actually don't know. But I think right now when the name came up with Thomas being available, that was exciting for me, and so that's why we are here where we are right now.

To be honest, I'm taking it kind of day by day, and I'm enjoying getting to know him now. I have a lot of respect for him. He's had a lot of success with a lot of players. Obviously that's going to be for a reason, but it doesn't always guarantee that obviously certain people match up well.

I think I'm giving it every opportunity for it to work out well, and I don't see why it can't. But then also I'm leaving space for both of us to be ourselves and to make sure it works for both of us.

Q. In that same interview, she also said Sharapova didn't used to have dinner with Thomas because he wasn't a social character. I wondered, did you bring three people in your team with you? And in terms of passing the time, who do you chat to when you're not on the court sort of training? How is that going in the bubble?

JOHANNA KONTA: So I have just got Thomas here and also Dan here. So I've got just them two. Jackson was going to come out, but then he would have had to quarantine when he got back for two weeks, so we couldn't make it work for him to come. It would have been too long out of his work.

So it's just myself and Thomas and Dan. I mean, to be honest, they have set up some games also at the hotel, so we are just inundated with games (smiling).

So I have played -- I have given my golfing game a bit of a go. I found out that I'm left-handed in golf. There is a simulator there which they've set up for us. Dan is a very keen golfer. He actually brought his glove, and he's probably going to hate that I'm telling everyone that he's brought his golfing glove. But since then, I have now got a golfing glove too. I bought a new one. I might get really good while I'm here. Let's just say that.

And then there is also, again, like different arcade games that we have played. Like I have actually, in terms of dinner and food, I have ordered a lot of things in, like Uber Eats, like a lot of players have. They have set up these food trucks that come by, as well.

I think everyone is just kind of getting on with how it is, and I think everyone is generally being quite social, but at the same time, we are kind of all together in this little fish bowl. I think everyone is also just taking some time for themselves in their room when they get a chance.

Q. You put together a couple of straight-set victories over the last two days. Does that surprise you that you have gone about your business, winning quickly, winning efficiently?

JOHANNA KONTA: I don't know if it surprised me. I have won a lot of matches in my career, and a lot of them have been in straight sets, so I wouldn't say I'm necessarily surprised.

I think I am pleased with obviously the level I'm playing. It doesn't guarantee that every day it's just going to go smoothly. I feel like I'm giving myself the best chance of when it could and will get more difficult, that I'm in a place where I can find a way to compete well and to find solutions to the problems that whichever opponent that I'm playing will be throwing my way.

I think I just was able to find those answers for those problems in the last two matches, and maybe my opponents couldn't find any more kind of problems to throw my way, but that's just the way it goes sometimes. Sometimes you do; sometimes you don't.

Yeah, I mean, I'm sure I'm going to have plenty of three-set matches also to come. Probably the next one is going to be tomorrow.

But, yeah, I mean, I'm just pleased to have gotten through two tough matches in their own way. Obviously it's nice not to play for three hours, but at the same time, that's what we train for and that's what we prepare for, so I'm prepared to do that when it comes.

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