Britain's best female tennis player, and master of mentality.
Jo Konta isn't known as an early-rising wonder-player. In fact, in her early career, it was said that her height and size put her at somewhat of a disadvantage, and, to quote one spokesman, her junior career was 'nothing special'. But what she lacked in bullishness, she made up for in mindfulness, technical mastery, and determination.
Her early coach, Pete McCraw, said, ‘I remember her asking [...] questions, she always had a great thirst for knowledge and would happily watch other players’ matches to try to learn things. Most girls of that age are not great watchers.’
After a rocky journey in her mid-teens, Konta moved from Australia, to Hungary, to Spain and finally to the UK, where she spent a year training at the Sutton Tennis Academy. Keith Sohl, the founder, said, ‘I am not entirely surprised she has gone on to do so well, she was always different from your average 15-year-old. She was very hard-working and technically pretty sound, with the potential to have a big game.’
Despite this relatively slow start, Konta is now clambering through the ranks, currently residing as the UK's number one women's tennis player, and the first to make a Grand Slam singles Semi Final in over 30 years with her successful Australian Open run in 2016.
We've chosen to profile Johanna, because her determination and focus in the face of significant challenge is second to none. To quote the Independent on the 2014 Fed Cup, 'In claiming five scalps here, including those of Venus Williams and Ekaterina Makarova, and even as she lost in the semi-finals to Angelique Kerber, Konta barely changed her facial expression. The British No 1 remained focused on her task and there was hardly a moment when she selected the wrong shot, let alone allowed emotions to get the better of her.'
We believe that Jo Konta's resilience, technical ability, and sportsmanship give her everything she needs to be a World-beater, a top-ten mainstay, and certainly an ambassador for the PlayBrave mentality.