Billie Jean King backs Johanna Konta to have successful US Open

Tennis legend Billie Jean King has backed world number seven Johanna Konta to go deep at the US Open, with the American saying that Konta could “do a lot of damage” when the action begins at Flushing Meadows next Monday.

Konta, who will be the seventh seed in the draw, has reached the fourth round in New York the past two years and King believes that the Brit’s semifinal loss to Venus Williams at Wimbledon, her home Grand Slam tournament, may be a “springboard” for Konta to have success at the final Grand Slam tournament of the year.

Konta during a Western and Southern Open press conference (Getty/Matthew Stockman)
Konta during a Western and Southern Open press conference (Getty/Matthew Stockman)

King, who won 13 Grand Slam titles at the US Open, including four singles titles, was speaking to the British newspaper The Daily Mirror about Konta, who has won hard court titles in Sydney and Miami this year, and reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open.

King believes Konta “is on the cusp” of winning a major tournament

There is no doubting King’s credentials as one of the greatest tennis players in the history of the sport, and the American believes that Konta has the capability to join her as a Grand Slam singles champion.

“I think she is going to do a lot of damage at the US Open,” King commented, adding that the Brit knows that she “is on the cusp of winning big.” The American also added that world number seven’s last four defeat at Wimbledon “could be a springboard into the future,” though stressed that Konta must use the experience well to be able to push on and become the first British woman in 40 years to win a Grand Slam singles title.

Konta after winning the Miami Open title in April (Getty/Julian Finney)
Konta after winning the Miami Open title in April (Getty/Julian Finney)

King stressed that Konta “needs to be patient” with her progress, and pointed out her own loss in the 1965 US Open final to Margaret Court as the match that helped her turn her career around; she eventually won 12 Grand Slam singles titles and became the world number one. Konta herself could become the world number one after the tournament, assuming she wins the title and other results go her way.

Konta had a highly successful hard court run earlier in the season, beating Agnieszka Radwanska to take the title in Sydney and then triumphing over Caroline Wozniacki to take the biggest title of her career at the Miami Open. She also reached the quarterfinals for the second consecutive year at the Australian Open though has had a far from the ideal build-up to the US Open; she lost her first match in Toronto to Ekaterina Makarova despite holding match points and then fell to Simona Halep in the last eight in Cincinnati.