Australian Open 2017: Johanna Konta praises Serena Williams

Konta values Australian Open experience
Australian Open 2017
Venue: Melbourne Park, Melbourne Dates: 16-29 Jan
Coverage: Daily live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra; live text on selected matches on the BBC Sport website; TV highlights on BBC Two and online from 21 January.

Britain's Johanna Konta described her quarter-final defeat by Serena Williams at the Australian Open as the "best experience of my life".

An emotional Konta, who was playing the 22-time Grand Slam champion for the first time, said she would come back stronger from the 6-2 6-3 defeat.

"There's so many things I can learn from that," the 25-year-old said.

"I don't think there's one player that goes up against her and feels they've got much of a say in the matches."

Williams, 35, dropped only three points behind her first serve and attacked Konta's second serve with particular relish.

The American hit 25 winners to Konta's 11 and hit 10 aces as she recovered from a break down early in the second set to win in 75 minutes.

Johanna Konta
Konta faced eight break points against Williams

"She's able to really make sure that the points are on her terms," said world number nine Konta.

"Even if she's on the defence, it makes you feel that you have to do more with the ball. She makes you feel that pressure."

The end of a nine-match winning streak, which included her Sydney International triumph earlier this month and not a single dropped set, moved Konta to tears.

"I cried because I'm generally quite an emotional person. I think I've never hid that away," she added.

"I've worked incredibly hard to direct that emotion into a positive way and into a constructive way on court. But off court I'm still very emotional."

Konta, beaten in the semi-finals by eventual champion Angelique Kerber in Melbourne last year, will return to Britain before representing her country in the Fed Cup in Estonia that begins on 8 February.

Williams advances to a semi-final meeting with unseeded Croat Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who she last played in 1998 when both were teenagers.


BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller

No matter how many times you have watched Serena Williams play, it is perhaps just not possible to appreciate how hard she hits the ball - and how quickly it arrives on your racquet - until you have shared a court with her.

Johanna Konta had her first experience of that today and was not able to maintain the standards she had set earlier in the fortnight when faced with such persistent pressure.

But a run to the quarter-finals means she could well retain her position in the world's top 10.

After a few days' rest, Konta is planning to play Fed Cup for Great Britain in Estonia and then rejoin the tour in Doha and Dubai. She has a packed schedule ahead, although may play one or two fewer tournaments if she keeps winning matches at the same rate.

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