Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 28th 2016 Contents A56
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, January 28, 2016
MELBOURNE---Meet the female
Not that she s a spy, or a fictitious
character of any kind, but Johanna
Konta does have a multiple identity
and a few passports. The 24-year-
old tennis player who was born in
Australia to Hungarian parents and
moved to England as a teen, however,
considers herself fully British.
And she has the self-deprecating
humour to prove it.
"I m pretty much the female ver-
sion of Jason Bourne," Konta said
yesterday, making a rare analogy to
The Bourne Identity at an Australian
Open news conference, where she
has spent the past two weeks
increasing her profile in the tennis
The rising star holds all three pass-
ports, she explained, but only one
country is home. "I definitely belong
to Great Britain."
And, Great Britain thanks her for
Konta became the first British
woman to reach a Grand Slam semi-
final in 32 years, since Jo Durie did
it at the 1983 US Open. She joins
Andy Murray, a two-time Grand
Slam champion, in the semis, giving
Britain a man and a woman into the
singles semifinals at the same major
for the first time since 1977.
Murray said he was "very excited
to have a British woman in the latter
stage of a slam. That s not happened
for a long, long time." He called
Konta s strong run at the Australian
Konta is playing in her very first
Australian Open, after losing in qual-
ifying rounds three years in a row.
She announced her arrival to the
main draw by staging a first-round
upset over No 8 Venus Williams and
beat No 21 Ekaterina Makarova in
straight sets in the fourth round.
Yesterday, Konta beat Zhang Shuai
of China, 6--4, 6--1 in a quarterfinal
that offered two compelling story
lines. The 27-year-old Zhang entered
the Australian Open with a 0--14
record in Grand Slam matches, and
was considering retirement. She
brought her parents to Melbourne
thinking it might be her last tour-
nament, and they watched as she
upset No 2 Simona Halep in the
first-round and continued into the
When Konta beat her Wednesday
---after a match point decided by a
net cord---she walked up to the net
and gave Zhang a good, long hug.
"I think what she has achieved is
incredibly special. That s what I told
her at the end of the match," said
Konta, who is ranked 47th.
She has won fans at Melbourne
Park with her athleticism and mental
composure on the court and good-
humour and a polite humility in
interviews after winning.
Asked about her parents reaction
back home, Konta apologised for
making them stay up so late.
"I m pretty sure they have jet lag
because of the time difference.
They ve been staying up all ridiculous
times of the morning," Konta said
during her on-court TV interview
yesterday. "I m sure they re looking
forward for me to go home so they
can sleep properly."
Her interviewer then poked fun
at the "unique" way she bounces
the ball before serving, keeping her
arm raised high at shoulder level.
Konta laughed, along with the
crowd at Rod Laver Arena, saying
until recently nobody had noticed.
"I actually did see myself serve
(recently) and I m like, Ohhh, that
looks really awkward, " she laughed.
"It s just the way it is and it feels
really natural. Sorry if you guys think
it s bad."
In today s semifinals, she faces No
7 Angelique Kerber, another deter-
mined player who beat two-time
Australian Open champion Victoria
Azarenka in the quarterfinals. No 1
Serena Williams is in the semifinals
on the other half of the draw.
Konta has been reminded in her
post-match encounters with the
British media that there s quite a bit
of excitement back home. Does she
feel the pressure?
"No," she replied. "But the UK is
a number of thousands of miles
away, and a completely different
time zone. Which in this case is quite
Konta makes name for herself
Johanna Konta of Britain makes a forehand return to Venus Williams of the
United States during their first round match at the Australian Open tennis
championships in Melbourne, Australia. AP PHOTO
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