Aegon International 2015: 'I'm no Serena, lets keep our feet on the ground,' says Jo Konta

Despite strong run in Eastbourne, British No 2 rejects idea she will be under any extra pressure at Wimbledon next week

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The Independent Online

It has been an excellent week for Jo Konta, but after her run at the Aegon International in her home town of Eastbourne ended in a 2-6, 6-0, 6-3 quarter-final defeat to Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic, the British No 2 was keen to keep matters in perspective.

Asked if she was being recognised more in the street after a week in which she had enjoyed three of the biggest wins of her career, Konta laughed. “No, even my parents rarely recognise me when I’m in street clothes,” she said. “I’m no Serena Williams. Let’s just keep our feet on the ground here.”

Konta has been matter-of-fact all week despite enjoying the best run of results in her career. The 24-year-old world No 146 should make significant progress in next week’s updated world ranking list after her wins in Eastbourne over Zarina Diyas (world No 34), Ekaterina Makarova (world No 8) and Garbine Muguruza (world No 20).

Those victories came despite the fact that Konta has been under the weather all week, having been on antibiotics since last Sunday, and took a medical time-out before the start of the third set against Bencic.

“My energy levels got very depleted and I wanted to check that I wasn’t going to faint out there,” she said. “That would have been embarrassing.”

She added: “I’m very proud of my effort this week and my ability to deal with whatever situation was presented to me on court. I’m looking forward to resting for a few days.”

Konta, who will go into Friday’s Wimbledon draw courtesy of a wild card, rejected the idea that she would feel under any extra pressure at the All England Club next week in front of a home crowd.

“I have no responsibility towards anyone else,” she said. “I play for myself firstly and I take responsibility for my own actions. All I can do is my best. All any other player can do is their best. I’m competing against players who  are out there for the same reason – and that’s to win, to beat me.

“But in terms of feeling pressure or responsibility, to be honest I’m just very grateful for the All England Club giving me the opportunity to play on such a wonderful stage. All I can promise them is my best when I step out on to that court.”

Konta, who had slipped down the world rankings after reaching her career-high position at No 89 last summer, has been on a good run for more than a month now. She won three matches to qualify for the French Open and then beat three top 100 players – Magdalena Rybarikova, Monica Puig and Jarmila Gajdosova – in her first two grass-court tournaments.

“I’m very happy that I was able to play four great matches here,” she said. “I played two very good matches in Birmingham and three very good matches in Nottingham. I feel I have been fortunate and lucky enough that I have been playing matches week in and week out. That obviously does give me confidence in being able to come back each day and keep giving my best. I’m looking forward to the next time I step out on court. I’m lucky enough that it’s going to be Wimbledon.”

In the Eastbourne semi-finals, Bencic will face Caroline Wozniacki, who beat Andrea Petkovic 7-5, 6-1, while Sloane Stephens will take on Agnieszka Radwanska, a 6-2, 6-2 winner over the former Wimbledon semi-finalist, Tsvetana Pironkova.

Dan Evans, the last British player in the Wimbledon qualifying competition, was beaten 7-6, 6-2, 7-5 by Japan’s Yuichi Sugita, the world  No 149. In the Aegon Open semi-finals in Nottingham Marcos Baghdatis will face Denis Istomin while Sam Querrey will meet Yen-Hsun Lu or Alexandr Dolgopolov.