By Ros Satar

  • Johanna Konta announces split with coach Wim Fissette after less than a year
  • Foot injury causes her to call time on her season, skipping alternate duties in Singapore and withdrawing from the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai
LONDON, UK – British No. 1 Johanna Konta confirmed she would not travel to Singapore or Zhuhai to rest her injured foot, and announced a split with her coach Wim Fissette.

 

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It was a disappointing end to Johanna Konta’s season, as she today announced she was calling time on her season to further rest a foot injury, as well as announcing that she had split with coach Wim Fissette after less than a year together.

Johanna Konta with Wim Fissette at the 2017 Internazionali BNL d'Italia

Johanna Konta | 2017 Internazionali BNL d’Italia (c) Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

 

In a statement tweeted by @WTAInsider, she said:

“After careful thought and discussion, Wim Fissette and I have mutually decided to end our working relationship.

“Things ended very amicably and I wish Wim all the best. We’ve achieved a lot together and I want to thank him for his patience, hard work and expertise.

“I will be working with my team over the coming weeks to find the right way forward for me and my tennis. The goal is to get a new coach or coaches in place as soon as possible but the focus will be on making the right decision rather than a quick decision.”

The statement continued that she would continue to work with hitting partner Andrew Fitzpatrick, her strength and conditioning coach Milly Mirkovic and her mental coach Elena Sosa remain part of the team.

 

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Writing was on the wall in second half of the year

Things had been going swimmingly well from the start of the year, with titles in Sydney and Miami as well as reaching the Wimbledon semi-final, but after that it was a very different story. Konta won just two matches in Cincinnati and exited the first round Toronto, at the US Open, Tokyo, Wuhan and Beijing.

Where once we were used to seeing Konta battle back from losing positions, she seemed to lose her confidence if an early lead was lost, or worse seemed unable to even get into the swing of things in a match – it seemed as though her confidence was shot.

After the chaotic end to the race for Singapore berths last year, it looked like we were set for another thrilling chase, down to the wire, but the foot injury took the wind out of her sails, and it was no surprise that she eased out of that race, with Caroline Garcia’s late season surge carrying her through to the WTA Finals, and with perhaps a lack of confidence on her side, the Zhuhai points would have seemed a tall order to defend on this current form.

 

Pressure at the top

Johanna Konta, Wimbledon 2017

Photo by Ella Ling/BPI/REX/Shutterstock | Johanna Konta
Wimbledon 2017, Day 10

 

When reminded of her loss to Donna Vekic (then World No. 70) at the start of the grass court season in Nottingham, and then to World No. 30 Coco Vandeweghe at Birmingham, Konta snapped back (and rightly so) that as the World No. 7, she was not entitled to win every match she played. At the time it seemed to be the spur that took her to the semi-finals at both Eastbourne and Wimbledon.

But since then, while she has lost to pretty tricky players on their day, she seems to have lost a little of that edge, and the more unorthodox players seemed to leave her struggling to even get a foot hold in the game sometimes.

She looked in impressive form at Wimbledon and it looked as though she was on course for another stellar season, before things took a dramatic downturn.

 

What next for Konta?

It feels a bit déjà-vu for Konta. She split at the end of the last year with Esteban Carril and Fissette looked to be a great choice for the Brit, who very much trusts in the process to keep her calm and focussed on the court. Something went very awry for them though in the latter half of the year.

It is interesting she might look to multiple coaches to help guide her next year. Defending semi-final points from Zhuhai, calling time on her season will at least give her time to rest the foot, spend time assessing what needs to change, rather than what went wrong, as she looks to return in the New Year.

With family in Australia, we could expect to see her start the season in Brisbane before possibly moving on to Sydney to defend her title.

Even though 2017 Australian Open champion Serena Williams stopped Konta one round short this year, in the quarter-finals, she will still be expected to be a contender for the first Slam of the year, and certainly expected to figure in the second week.

The WTA Finals will take place between 22 & 29 October.

Main Image: Ella Ling/REX/Shutterstock

 

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