July 27, 2020
Jo Konta will learn from a surprising early reverse in London and surely improve rapidly.
She couldn’t come up with a win first time out – and maybe we shouldn’t have expected one.
But at least Konta is back in the swing and preparing for America!
The world number fourteen hadn’t played since March and she is aiming to shake off the ring-rust this week.
Konta – famous for her stunning efforts at Wimbledon in recent years – hopes for bigger things at the US Open next month.
And of course we can’t wait to witness more Konta heroics at Wimbledon 2021!
But it was Jodie Burrage who beat her 6-4, 6-3 at the Battle of the Brits.
And since the fast-improving Burrage is only world number 289 for now, this result will go down as something of an upset.
Konta will work hard on her movement and enjoy a less complicated international schedule as she seeks her rhythm.
She will skip next week’s WTA Palermo tournament and head for Lexington the week after.
That’s where Serena Williams will get back on tour as well.
Konta clearly feels it is simpler to join the American build-up to the US Open. She will hope to be in better form by then.
The rest of this week should give her plenty of time to find better tennis before she crosses the Atlantic.
Meanwhile Andy Murray will only play doubles this week in order to protect his body.
He too will aim to build singles match-fitness in the USA before the big Slam there.
But today belonged to Burrage and the more famous lady who coached her against Konta.
It seems that Judy Murray got Jodie dancing when it mattered.
Burrage explained: ‘Honestly, it feels amazing. To play the first match and have my teammates supporting me! To be able to get a win against such a good player…I feel really overwhelmed.
‘I’m actually a bit surprised about how I played. When I heard who I was playing, I felt a bit nervous and thought: “God, I don’t want to get hit off court!”
‘But actually this morning I was really excited to come out and swing and I managed to close it out at the end there.’
Jodie broke Konta to love to take the first set, a stunning exhibition of poise from the 21-year-old.
So comfortable on her backhand, Burrage then turned her forehand into a deadly weapon to end the opener. She never looked back.
Judy Murray had advised her that nimble movement and sharp eyes would prove to be the key.
Asked what Judy had told her to focus on, Jodie replied: ‘Obviously Jo hits the ball pretty hard, so just seeing the ball come off her racquet and really moving my feet.
‘As Judy said, using my “dancing feet,” and just keeping my legs going, and getting my game on the court, serving big, hitting the big spots with my forehand and backhand.’
That simple advice worked a treat. Burrage was already in impressive form before she beat Konta. She had a 15-2 winning record in recent weeks. Now she is flying.
For Konta, this match can be regarded as a loosener. It gave her watching coach, Thomas Hogstedt the chance to find out where she is.
There’s certainly work to be done. Jo’s feet looked a little heavy. And that’s understandable after her long lay-off.
But isn’t it just fantastic to see Konta back playing again?