Konta out to avenge Ajla de­feat

Sunshine Coast Daily - - TENNIS - – Mike Dick­son

TEN­NIS: Jo Konta’s open­ing round at Mel­bourne Park pits her against some­one who has made the op­po­site jour­ney in life.

The British No. 1 spent the first half of her life in Aus­tralia be­fore head­ing to Europe, while Ajla Toml­janovic was head­ing the other way, born and raised in Croa­tia be­fore head­ing Down Un­der and fi­nally gain­ing cit­i­zen­ship a year ago.

Toml­janovic is known not just for her rank­ing of 47, but also for be­ing the long­stand­ing girl­friend of Nick Kyr­gios.

This will be of scant rel­e­vance when they meet to­day.

More of an is­sue could be the fact the British player had to pull out of the Syd­ney In­ter­na­tional after a strange se­ries of events caused by a sud­den in­jury to her neck. Konta re­tired from the sec­ond qual­i­fy­ing round there, but was then given a ‘lucky loser’ slot, only to then pull out of the of­fi­cial first round when the in­jury failed to clear up as ex­pected.

“I was warm­ing up and my neck just seized up – I couldn’t turn left and I couldn’t look up so that made it par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult to hit nor­mal strokes and also serve,” she said. “It was just a bit of a ran­dom thing and un­for­tu­nate, but I can look up now.”

Konta be­gan the sea­son in Bris­bane with a big win over Sloane Stephens but then lost to Toml­janovic.

“I don’t know if you guys have no­ticed but I seem to play the same play­ers, usu­ally, we sort of do a ro­ta­tion,” she said.

“It’s a great op­por­tu­nity for me to play some­one I’ve just lost to who played very well and for me to try to do bet­ter, to try to im­me­di­ately learn from how that match went.”

Photo: Ja­son McCaw­ley/Getty

STAR BRIT: Jo­hanna Konta.

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