The BBC’s John Humphrys has been accused of showing a “lack of respect” over the way he “disgracefully” questioned Wimbledon semi-finalist Johanna Konta.
Humphrys interviewed the world number four on the Radio 4 Today programme following her best-ever showing for a British female tennis player at SW19 for 39 years. She also became only the fourth British woman in history to enter the world’s top five since the rankings were launched in 1975.
However, despite her achievements, Humphrys has come under fire for suggesting the 26-year-old “crashed” out of Wimbledon, even though she lost to five-time winner and losing finalist Venus Williams.
Konta was born in Australia to Hungarian parents and Humphrys also questioned her on this, asking her “what are you?” – even though she moved to England when she was 14 and became a British citizen in 2012.
Konta laughed before replying: “I was actually born in Australia to Hungarian parents, but I have lived half my life here now, almost. So, I'm a British citizen, and I'm incredibly proud to represent Great Britain. I have done so officially since 2012.
“But, definitely, I have personally since 2005 when I moved here. I have also represented Great Britain at the Olympics, so I'm definitely a British athlete.”
In introducing her on the show, he also made comments about her age and why she had only begun hitting the heights now after sitting outside the world’s top 100 players until 2014. He said: “She did it at the grand old age of 26 which raises the obvious question, why?”
Humphrys then, after verifying her age, quipped: “we’ve got a great champion at the moment, a great men’s champion who’s probably going to go on till he’s about 80, haven’t we?”
Konta was also forced to correct the veteran broadcaster, who claimed she was ranked 388th in Australia as a junior, when she in fact won the under 12s nationals, meaning she was “definitely one of the best in the country.”
The interview caused outrage on social media, with one user saying: “What the hell is with John Humphrys’ belittling interrogation of Johanna Konta?! Disgraceful. Show some respect man!”, while another called it a “very mean spirited interview”.
The journalist was also accused of being “lazy”, “ill-informed” and “ungenerous”.
Konta is enjoying her most successful season to date and is one of the favourites for the US Open next month as she enters the hard court season, which is traditionally her favourite surface.
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