Johanna Konta says cut in funding could have checked progress

By Russell FullerBBC tennis correspondent
Jo Konta
Johanna Konta was ranked 150 in the world at the start of 2015, but has risen to 48

British number one Johanna Konta says cuts to her Lawn Tennis Association funding put her career at risk.

She spoke out after Andy Murray said talking to the LTA about the future of British tennis was a waste of his time.

Konta has risen more than 100 places to 48th in the world rankings since the LTA reduced her funding last December.

"If anyone's livelihood, career or dreams are jeopardised, I don't think that is ever a healthy position to be in," she told BBC Sport.

Men's world number two Murray made his criticisms of the LTA after he inspired Great Britain to win the Davis Cup for the first time in 79 years with victory over Belgium last weekend.

Konta reached the last 16 of this year's US Open, but does not believe she was driven to that success by the cut in her funding.

She said: "The success that followed after that is because of the people I had around me.

"My coaches made a decision to stick by me and to continue our work and they sheltered me from a lot of the issues that were going on.

"I think if I hadn't had my support system, then nothing would have happened - none of the results would have come."

Re-live GB's Davis Cup journey

However, Sydney-born Konta said she was grateful for the support the LTA has offered since she became a British citizen in 2012, adding that she was encouraged by the appointment of interim performance director Peter Keen, who formerly worked for British Cycling and UK Sport.

"It's no secret that I've had my own challenges and my own ups and downs with them, but it's also not a secret that I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for their support throughout the years," she said.

"I'm very excited about Peter Keen coming on board. I think he is very, very good at what he does. He talks a lot of performance-minded sense."

Konta has been working with Esteban Carril and Jose-Manuel Garcia since August 2014, and is thankful for the faith they showed when it appeared it might no longer be financially viable to keep coaching her.

The 24-year-old switched her training base to Gijon in northern Spain earlier this year, but has been preparing for the new season at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton this week.

When Murray spoke out, he bemoaned the lack of players using the courts at the centre, which was opened at a cost of £40m in 2007.

"Recently I've seen a lot of young kids around," Konta said.

"But there are times when I think it is too quiet for such a magnificent facility, and it would be nice to see these courts filled with more players."

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