British No 1 Jo Konta hoping for home comforts to boost her Wimbledon hopes after strong start to clay court campaign… but Andy Murray suffers setback on comeback trail after Madrid snub
- The British No 1 still hopes to stay in her own home during Wimbledon in June
- She has played only one tournament since February due to Covid regulations
- Konta scored her best win since August in the opening round of Madrid Open
- Murray left off the final list of wildcard entries to the men’s event in Madrid
Jo Konta is holding out for the possibility that she will be allowed to stay in her own home during the Wimbledon period and spared yet more weeks in the bubble.
The British No 1, who lives in South West London between the official hotel and the All England Club, has already tried to reduce the amount of time she is spending under restrictions at tournaments.
Konta, who on Thursday scored her best win since August in the opening round of the Madrid Open, pulled out of the WTA event in Stuttgart this month due to overall concerns about Covid.
Jo Konta scored her best win since August in the opening round of the Madrid Open
Wimbledon confirmed this week that all its competitors must stay in a bubble, even London residents, but she hopes that policy could yet be reversed in late June.
‘I’m still very hopeful that might change so I’m just holding out for that hope,’ she said after beating world No 30 Yulia Putintseva 6-4, 6-2.
‘All I know is that whenever there are any announcements they always say it’s subject to change according to whatever the government guidelines are at the time. I’m holding out hope but I’m prepared for the other eventuality as well.’
She admitted that she has deliberately played only one tournament since the trip to Australia in February due to the stifling nature of current regulations: ‘I think it’s a combination, more the logistical side of it the feeling of how much stress am I willing to take on, how I feel about the environment I’m going in. It’s very different playing in these events compared to what our old normal used to be and so it’s about me managing where I feel I’m able to put myself out there.’
Konta has played only one tournament since February due to the stifling Covid regulations
This week’s Masters level event in Madrid is another taking place without Andy Murray, whose comeback options appear to be narrowing after he was left off the final list of wildcard entries to the men’s event in the Spanish capital starting this weekend.
Murray, who has been practising in London on clay, won the Madrid title in 2015. Neither the tournament nor his management would comment on whether he had applied for a wildcard and been rebuffed.
It is still not clear exactly how fit he is following his late withdrawal from the Miami Open in late March, although he is known to have been hitting with British player Anton Matusevich at Roehampton.
Andy Murray’s comeback options appear to be narrowing after failing to gain entry in Madrid
It is also far from guaranteed that – even if in full health – he will receive a wildcard for the French Open at the end of May, and this week he formally entered his name for the qualifying event.
Working against Murray is the general uncertainty of his fitness and his heavy loss on clay in Paris to Stan Wawrinka when he was given a wildcard there in October. There is also the awareness among tournament directors that he has increasingly accepted wildcards before handing them back late in the day, either due to injury or a change of mind.
It is a difficult situation for the 33 year-old Scot, who has worked tirelessly to try and get himself in optimum condition, despite having a metal hip.
One course of action would be to write off the whole of the current clay swing and focus on returning to the grass courts during the second week of Roland Garros in early June, with the option of kicking off in a Challenger level tournament in Nottingham or the ATP event in Stuttgart.