Johanna Konta will return on the grass of Wimbledon Championship as one of the favorites for the second year in a row. Konta, who is currently world number 7, is coming from a rather disappointing clay season, but has previously achieved many good results in the current year - including her maiden Premier Mandatory title in Miami - and she has a good chances to perform a good run and improve her previous disappointing results on the grass Major.
Konta, 26, has got under the spotlight in 2016, reaching a Grand Slam semifinal for the first time at the Australian Open, and then achieving a rather good season that almost let her be a World Tour Finals contender - her spot being taken at the last minute by a Svetlana Kuznetsova victorious in Moscow, the last WTA tournament of the year. With two titles already under her belt and a seventh position in the race to Singapore, Konta is clearly looking for more successes during the year, starting from Wimbledon.
Notable results to date
Konta had started her season with a good run at Shenzhen Open, where she reached the semifinals, losing to Katerina Siniakova.
She then moved to her birth town to play Apia Sidney International, where she officially achieved the first title of the season without dropping a set, defeating tricky opponents such as Daria Gavrilova, Daria Kasatkina and an in-form Eugenie Bouchard on her way to the final. For the title, she faced 2013 champion and world number 3 Agnieszka Radwanska, defeating her for the first time in career with a clean 6-4, 6-2 score.
She headed to the Australian Open, where she was defending the semifinal for the previous year, and she performed yet another good run to the quarterfinals, with victories over Caroline Wozniacki and an Ekaterina Makarova always tricky on Melbourne hard courts.
A foot injury forced her out of the Middle East swing. She returned on tour in Indian Wells, where she suffered an early loss from Caroline Garcia. Moved to Miami, she found her form again, and got rid of Simona Halep in the quarterfinals and Venus Williams in the semifinals, setting a meeting for the title with Caroline Wozniacki. Defeating the Dane in straight sets, Konta claimed the second title of the year, and the first at Premier Mandatory level, breaking back into the top-10 with a career-high rank of number 7.
She then faced a rather disappointing clay season, in which she failed to achieve back to back wins, culminated with an early first-round exit at the French Open at the hands of Hsieh Su-Wei.
Grass court results leading up to Wimbledon
Konta started her grass season in Nottingham, tournament that had seen her reaching the quarterfinals as a wild card in 2015. The Brit didn’t drop a set in comfortably reaching the final, where she met Donna Vekic in their first career-meeting. However, the young Croatian performed the upset, rallying from a set down to win the second-set tie-break and then signing the biggest victory of her career by winning the tournament against a Konta who couldn’t find enough consistency throughout all the match. In Nottingham, Konta scored the 300th win of her pro career.
She will close her grass court preparation on her home tournament in Eastbourne. At the Aegon International, Konta had previously reached the quarterfinals in 2015, losing to eventual champion Belinda Bencic, and the semifinal in 2016, scoring an important victory against Petra Kvitova in the third round, before losing to Karolina Pliskova.
Best Wimbledon results
Konta had never achieved important results on the grass of All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. She had attended every edition of the tournament since 2012, but currently holds a win/loss record of 1/5, with her only win happened in the first round last year.
She made her debut in 2012 as a wild cCard, and lost a very tight match against 28th seed Christina McHale, ended with a 10-8 score in the third set. In 2013, she received a wild card again, but went out to Jelena Jankovic in straight sets.
In 2014, she lost to Peng Shuai in another three-setter, while the following year, once more as wild card, she got crushed in the first round by Maria Sharapova with a clear double 6-2.
2016 saw Konta competing as a seeded player for the first time, as the 16th seed and one of the favorites for the title. She scored her first ever victory by defeating Monica Puig in straights sets, but quickly went out in the following round by the hands of 2014 finalist Eugenie Bouchard, with a 3-6, 6-1, 1-6 scoreline.
How Konta’s game translates to grass
Konta’s playing style should allow her to score good results on grass; a very fast surface, in which a powerful serve and an aggressive game would help to score quick points, the Brit, who can claim both characteristics, could clearly play as one of the favorites.
With a powerful serve that could allow her to easily keep her service games, and good defensive skills from the baseline, Konta has got all the skills to become one of the deals on that surface. Against her, a still-weak net game and a still not perfect consistency and mental strength that could betray her in crucial situations - despite her having improved her mental strength a lot during the last one-and-half year.
Konta will compete in Wimbledon as the sixth seed.