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British No.1 Johanna Konta says she thrives playing in any atmosphere

Konta upsets Kvitova in Eastbourne

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Originally published on 23/06/16 00:00

The world No.18 continued her pre-Wimbledon preparations on Wednesday by beating two-time former SW19 champion Petra Kvitova in three sets at the Aegon International in Eastbourne, in front of a vocal home crowd on a packed Centre Court.

Speaking after her 5-7 6-4 6-0 victory at Devonshire Park, this year’s Australian Open semi-finalist explained how she aims to please any audience she plays in front of, choosing not to focus on where the allegiances might lie.

“I think just the environment they create, not just for me but in general to compete in, that's what really pushes us through,” said Konta, who lives in Eastbourne. “Believe it or not, sometimes even just to have the noise, even if it's not for you, it really is a huge boost in just the energy that you feed off.

“I'm obviously in a very lucky position that it's for me and I'm very grateful for it but I guess there's not really words to kind of describe how it feels.”

The match could have been over so much quicker had Konta been able to serve out for the first set, but after seeing a set point slip by, she contrived to lose five straight games from 5-2 ahead.

“I just really tried to keep going. Keep in mind the things that I did well and take as much from that as I could," she said. “I try to have a very short memory and keep moving forward, keep moving on.”

Despite struggling for consistency all season, Kvitova’s record on the Wimbledon lawns will always make her a scalp for players on the Tour.

“The fact that this win came against her is definitely worth a pat on the back,” smiled Konta, who lost to Kvitova in the fourth round at the 2015 US Open. “I’m very happy, because it’s no secret that this is her favourite surface so I am very happy to have been to produce the level that I did.”

Kvitova will head to Wimbledon with concerns over her fitness after playing Eastbourne with strapping on her right thigh. Konta, meanwhile, will arrive at SW19 after becoming the first British woman since Jo Durie in 1984 to be seeded.

“It's a great achievement for British tennis," she said. "It's really nice to be a headline but for me personally I'm just happy to be competing at the event, whether I'm 17th seed or unseeded and ranked 80.”

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British No.1 Johanna Konta says she thrives playing in any atmosphere
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