Saturday cooking: Johanna Konta on the year of “rotten luck”
Konta appears on Question of Sport today and is hosted by Paddy McGuinness. England rugby international James Haskell, Olympic hockey champion Hollie Pearne-Webb and European sprint champion Anyika Onuora join the squad. Team captains, Sam Quek and Ugo Monye will also star in the 24th episode of the new season of the sports-focused quiz programme.
Konta, who is one of the most successful British tennis players in the modern game, announced her retirement from the sport in December at the age of 30.
She was the first British woman in over 30 years to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final, making three semi-finals in total, as she reached a career-high No.4 in 2017.
A year later, she inflicted the heaviest defeat of Serena Williams’ career, with a 6-1 6-0 victory over the American star in San Jose.
It took him just 53 minutes to dispatch the 23-time Grand Slam winner.
Read more: Andy Murray’s retirement verdict delivered by Jo Konta
Konta disagreed with Williams’ sexism allegation
Konta appears on Question of Sport on BBC One
The same year, Konta also gave Williams an off-court band-aid after 40-year-old marquee tennis referee Carlos Ramos was a ‘liar’ and a ‘sexist’ after being beaten 6-2 6-4 by Naomi Osaka at the US Open. final.
The former UK No.1 offered her support for the referee and slammed Williams for introducing sexism into the argument.
Speaking at the Oxford Union, Konta said: “I’m for equal rights but I don’t necessarily always agree when you don’t like something you brush it off on the inequality rug. and say, “Because I’m a woman I didn’t understand.
“I don’t necessarily always agree with this approach.
Williams has won 23 Grand Slams
“I think if you [were to] look at the history of this referee and who was to stand out, so yes there is an argument for that.
“But I think they took the stats specifically for the US Open and the men actually had a lot more code violations than the women.
“The referee was right, Patrick Mouratoglou was coaching, he said it – he gave a practice violation.
“I think that has to be taken separately from what happened after.”
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Williams accused Carlos Ramos of sexism
Konta had sympathy for Williams, pointing out that the incident happened in the emotionally charged environment of a Grand Slam final.
However, she noted that in Ramos’ glittering refereeing career, he penalized familiar male names such as Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
Konta continued: “A [thing] it’s 100% certain, it’s that the emotions are always incredibly high in a match and I imagine even more so in a Grand Slam final.
“Everyone is human, including Serena Williams, and I think the US Open brings that out to her.
Konta then praised Williams for her passion in pursuing equality
“She has already been disqualified once at the same event, so bless her. I think she feels the stress there, that’s for sure.
“However, I think you have to look at the referee as well. The specific referee is a follower of the rules.
“He gave training violations to Djokovic and Nadal in different Slams.
“I don’t believe it’s a sexist issue personally.
“I believe it was high emotions and things just snowballed. That’s what I believe…don’t hate me, Serena!
Konta then praised Williams for his passion in pursuing the tie, although the American missed the mark on that particular occasion.
She said: “One thing you can’t take away from Serena is how passionate she is about women’s rights.
“It’s thanks to people like her and Billie Jean King that conversations are started, topics are brought to the fore and changes can be made.”
Question of Sport airs at 7.30pm on BBC One.