LONDON, England (Reuters) – Britain’s Johanna Konta says she is fit to play at the Wimbledon Championships after recovering from a heavy fall that forced her to pull out of a warm-up tournament.
Konta, who will be seeded sixth, hurt her back and banged her head as she tumbled on the grass during last week’s quarter-final win over Angelique Kerber at the Aegon International in Eastbourne.
A shaken Konta pulled out of last Friday’s semi-final, raising doubts over her participation at Wimbledon, which starts on Monday.
However, the 26-year-old said on Sunday that she had recovered well and, like fellow Briton Andy Murray, intends to forget her injury problems and take her place in the draw.
“I’m definitely recovering really well,” she told a news conference. “I practiced today. I felt good. I’m definitely looking forward to playing my first round. Like Andy, I’d like to think that I’m fit enough to play seven matches but I’m going to be taking it one at a time.”
By a quirk of the draw, Konta’s first-round opponent is Hsieh Su-Wei, the 31-year-old Taiwanese who knocked her out of the French Open at the same stage last month.
“It’s quite interesting that I actually get to play her again,” said Konta. “I guess in terms of the probability of playing each other first round in a slam in a row, that’s actually pretty cool.
“Well, I know she does enjoy the grass. She’s a Wimbledon champion in doubles here on the grass, so she definitely can play on this surface. Actually, the first time I played her, I lost to her on the grass.
“I’m definitely going into the match knowing that she will be playing very comfortably on the surface, she will definitely look to make things difficult for me.”
With no Serena Williams or obvious favorite in a wide-open draw, Konta will face extra pressure this year as the home crowd urge her to emulate Murray’s recent success in the men’s tournament.
“I know there’s, I guess, more attention, and there’s more interest in my performance, but that’s also a good thing. It means we’re talking more about women’s tennis in this country,” said Konta, who was born to Hungarian parents in Sydney and moved to Britain at the age of 14.
(Reporting by Neil Robinson; Editing by Clare Fallon)