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Sunday August 25th, 2019 2:10PM

Konta bristles at reporter after Wimbledon loss

By The Associated Press
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WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Johanna Konta didn't appreciate having her performance questioned after losing in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon.

As the last British player remaining in the tournament, Konta was the crowd favorite against Barbora Strycova on Centre Court but lost 7-6 (5), 6-1 despite holding a 4-1 lead in the first set. She attributed Strycova's comeback solely to her opponent's good play — and bristled at the notion that it was her own mistakes that were at fault.

Asked by a reporter whether she should "look at yourself a little bit about how you cope with these big points," Konta shot back: "Is that in your professional tennis opinion?"

A testy exchange followed, with the reporter saying that if Konta wants to win a Grand Slam tournament one day she should be willing to learn from matches like this one. Konta interrupted him to say "please don't patronize me."

"In the way you're asking your question, you're being quite disrespectful and you're patronizing me," she said. "I'm a professional competitor who did her best today, and that's all there is to that."

After Andy Murray ended a 77-year wait for a British men's champion at Wimbledon, the country's tennis fans — and media — have become increasingly hopeful that Konta could become the first homegrown female champion since Virginia Wade in 1977.

But Konta, who reached the semifinals at the All England Club in 2017, insisted it wasn't the pressure that got to her when she was leading.

"I guess what happened is that I have an opponent on the other side of the court who has everything to say in how the match goes, as well," she said. "I don't think you need to pick on me in a harsh way. I mean, I think I'm very open with you guys (in the media). I say how I feel out there. If you don't want to accept that answer or you don't agree with it, that's fine. I still believe in the tennis that I play. I still believe in the way I competed."

Konta wasn't the only player to waste a 4-1 lead on Monday. Zhang Shuai and Karolina Muchova also did so before losing in straight sets in their quarterfinal matches. Zhang was beaten 7-6 (4), 6-1 by seventh-seeded Simona Halep and Muchova lost 7-5, 6-4 to No. 8 Elina Svitolina.

NOT READY FOR SINGLES

Andy Murray's surgically repaired hip is coping quite well with the strain of playing doubles. As for making a return to singles, that's still "quite a ways away, unfortunately," the two-time Wimbledon champion said.

Murray and Serena Williams teamed up for mixed doubles again on Tuesday, beating Fabrice Martin and Raquel Atawo 7-5, 6-3 on Centre Court to reach the third round. Murray, who had hip surgery this year, also played in men's doubles but lost in the second round.

Murray said he is feeling fine physically while he's playing, but that he's still not ready to compete at the highest level in singles. So a return at the U.S. Open — where he won the first of his three Grand Slam titles in 2012 — doesn't appear to be on the cards.

"I think it's pretty unlikely just in terms of timing," Murray said. "Just a lot of stuff I need to get done physically, get myself stronger. The amount of work I need to do on the court to get ready for singles, the amount of work I need to put in off the court to get myself strong enough to play best-of-five sets, it's still quite a ways away, unfortunately."

SEMIFINALS AT LAST

Serena Williams' next opponent is a bit of an old-school player at Wimbledon.

Barbora Strycova has ridden a serve-and-volley style of play into her first Grand Slam semifinal, where she will face the seven-time Wimbledon champion.

In her quarterfinal win over Johanna Konta, the 54th-ranked Strycova used serve-and-volley on 11 points. The other three winners on Tuesday — Williams, Simona Halep and Elina Svitolina — never used it once in their matches.

"I think this was one of the best matches I've played here," Strycova said. "I haven't been playing on Centre Court so I enjoyed it even much more. It's a very special moment for me."

This is Strycova's 16th year playing at Wimbledon, but her previous best result was reaching the quarterfinals in 2014.

Facing Williams — a player she has never beaten — will also be a special moment.

"It's a great week to play her, and it's a match I really look forward to play," Strycova said. "I really can't wait to be Thursday on the court."

___

More AP tennis coverage: https://www.apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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