(January 19, 2016) Venus Williams became the highest seed knocked out of the first round of the Australian Open on Tuesday. The American, who was the eighth seed, lost 6-4, 6-2 to Great Britain’s Johanna Konta ranked 47th in the world. Williams reached the quarterfinals in Melbourne last year.
“I’m very satisfied with how I dealt with the situation,” the 23-year-old Konta said of her Australian Open main draw debut. “It was hot out there. I was playing an incredibly great player. That’s no secret.
“Yeah, no, and I definitely played a good level and obviously it’s always nerve-wracking to be able to continue that and, you know, there is ebbs and flows in a match. Yeah, no, I’m happy with the whole match in general.”
Konta lost to the 34-year-old Williams in three sets in the Wuhan quarterfinals in the fall.
The former No. 1 Williams had her upper left thigh wrapped and seemed to move around the court as well as she normally does.
Williams was broken in the third game of the first set and Konta won the first set in 41 minutes.
The British woman, born in Australia, raced out to a 5-0 lead in the second set and served for the match. Williams won the next two games.
Konta was asked about getting nervous at the point of trying to close out the seven-time major champion. “Tensing, I wouldn’t say so, but obviously there are nerves, and also the nerves of the many thousand people around you, which is impossible not to feel either,” she said.
“So just really focusing on my breathing and just trying to stay very present. Just very much staying with the work at hand, because it’s never is over until you’re shaking hands.
“Yeah, with that mindset, I just try to keep fighting and keep running down every ball.”
“I think it would be silly to look at Venus’ age and somehow consider that as a reflection of her level,” Konta said. “I think it’s irrelevant how old she is because she’s such a champion with so much experience and so much knowledge about the game.
“Even if she’s playing with one leg out there, you’ve got to really take care of things on your own, because, yeah, no, she’s an incredible player. I have all the respect for her in the world. Yeah, I was just very, really enjoying my time out there.”
Konta surged in the rankings last year, where she was 147th in the world at this time last year. She’s now 4-2 against Top Ten players.
Konta advances to the second round where she will play the winner of the Carina Witthoeft versus Saisai Zhang match.