Konta suf­fers pal­pi­ta­tions and de­feat on re­turn

Bri­tish No 1 is beaten in hu­mid con­di­tions by Bouzkova Wat­son also loses to Brady in Lex­ing­ton tour­na­ment

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Si­mon Briggs

Jo­hanna Konta suf­fered a heart pal­pi­ta­tion on her re­turn to the match court yes­ter­day, forc­ing her to stop play at an early stage of her straight­sets de­feat against the Czech Repub­lic’s Marie Bouzkova.

The tour­na­ment in Lex­ing­ton, Ken­tucky, was be­ing played in ex­tremely hu­mid con­di­tions af­ter ear­lier rain, and Konta called the doc­tor to the court af­ter only a few min­utes of play. She kept hold­ing two fin­gers to her throat to check her pulse.

“I some­times have heart pal­pi­ta­tions,” ex­plained Konta, who was able to re­sume af­ter a few min­utes and even­tu­ally went down to a 6-4, 6-4 de­feat. “My heart rate shoots up for no rea­son, we didn’t have a long point, I wasn’t gassing in any way in my lungs. It makes me a bit light­headed, I just had to see the doc­tor and the physio.

“I was hav­ing all the checks. I am as fit as a fid­dle but it can hap­pen. It took a while to set­tle down un­til about 4-3 in the first set, but then it did set­tle down and I was able to con­cen­trate on the ten­nis.

“This was the fourth time it’s ever hap­pened. The first time was in Birm­ing­ham in 2017, the sec­ond time in Bei­jing in 2018 in an evening match that I played. The third time was two months ago, in a train­ing block on the clay. I wouldn’t say there’s a mas­sive com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor.

“We don’t know why it hap­pens, it’s in stress­ful sit­u­a­tions, in non­stress­ful sit­u­a­tions.

“I am wor­ried. It’s not ideal. I am go­ing to have an­other test, and hope­fully mea­sure it.”

In the ten­nis it­self, Konta played a sur­pris­ingly high level for a woman who was suf­fer­ing such alarm­ing phys­i­cal symp­toms but could not over­come a fast and mo­bile op­po­nent. This was her first match since lock­down, and iron­i­cally her last match be­fore lock­down was also a straight-sets de­feat to Bouzkova.

At the same tour­na­ment, Heather Wat­son be­gan her own post-lock­down sea­son with a straight-sets de­feat by Amer­ica’s Jennifer Brady. And sev­eral more women joined the list of US Open re­fuseniks yes­ter­day, in­clud­ing two-time slam cham­pion Svet­lana Kuznetsova.

Mean­while, when stal­wart Liam Broady de­scribed Andy Mur­ray yes­ter­day as a great cham­pion of the game, he was not re­fer­ring to Mur­ray’s 46 ATP ti­tles. This was more of a char­ac­ter ref­er­ence. Speak­ing on the Be­hind the

Rac­quet pod­cast, Broady stressed that Mur­ray uses his po­si­tion of in­flu­ence to cham­pion the sport in this coun­try, where a more self­ish player might look the other way.

For an ex­am­ple, Broady picked the team in­stal­ment of the re­cent Bat­tle of the Brits event.

“Andy is re­cov­er­ing from a hip in­jury,” Broady told in­ter­viewer Mike Cation, “and he risked his body to play th­ese events know­ing that it would help the other Bri­tish play­ers. The Bat­tle of the Brits was prob­a­bly not ideal prepa­ra­tion for the US Open, but he was still out there from dawn till dusk watch­ing ev­ery sin­gle player play.”

Strug­gle: Jo­hanna Konta at­tempts a vol­ley dur­ing her de­feat by Marie Bouzkova

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