Johanna Konta is not one for giving away trade or personal secrets. Not unless she is asked about her beloved dog Bono, that is.
Yet after her opening match yesterday, she did inadvertently announce to the rest of her rivals in the locker room that she has barely broken step since her run to the semi-finals of the French Open three weeks ago. She was given a work-out by Ana Bogdan, a qualifier ranked No 132 from Romania, but she was hardly threatened on her way to her 7-5, 6-2 win. This was a good start for Britain’s No 1.
The ground strokes were as clean and damaging as she would have liked and the serve was working well with its six aces. In front of the Duchess of Cambridge, Konta had put on a royal show and she was understandably happy with her day’s work.
“There was very little in that match,” she said. “I think first rounds are always tricky in any tournament, but especially slams. So I think it was just finding my feet and also for her a little bit, as well, I think we were just both trying to find the best level that we could.
“Overall I was just pleased I was able to find a solution to the different problems she was giving. For it to be in two sets, obviously that’s great.
“I was really pleased with how I served, how I just competed in general. I thought I just accepted whatever was coming my way.”
When Konta is “accepting” of the situation, she usually plays well. It is when she tries to think and play at the same time that it can go wrong. But in her current relaxed frame of mind and on a roll of success at the big events, all is well for the moment.
Next in line to be “accepted” is Katerina Siniakova, pictured, the world No 38 in singles and No 4 in doubles from the Czech Republic. Like Konta, she had a good clay-court season – she is the woman who beat Naomi Osaka in the third round of the French Open – but unlike Konta, she has not adapted so well or so quickly to the grass. Her 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 win over Ekaterina Alexandrova was her first success on the green stuff since she left Roland Garros.
The two have played only once before with the Czech winning in three sets. But that was on a hard court in China two years ago. This time, Konta will have the crowd behind her and will be on a surface that is infinitely more suited to the world No 18 than to her opponent.
“She’s a tough player,” Konta said. “She had a great win in Paris. She’s able to beat some of the best players. She has a big game. She’s feisty. She competes very well. Obviously she’s a very, very good doubles player as well.”
Whether any members of the royal family turn up to watch her tomorrow is anyone’s guess – and it is of no importance to Konta, despite the fact that she professes to be a royalist. “I can only do the best that I can do,” she said. “That doesn’t really differ according to who’s watching. I think that pretty much stays the same.”
Konta, then, is in town simply to “accept” and “problem solve” to the best of her ability. Although there is one problem that she cannot fix: how to get Bono the dachshund into the grounds of All England Club. Pets are not allowed and not even club members are not given any dispensation.
“I didn’t ask, because I know the rule is no pets,” she said, acceptingly. If she can stay in that frame of mind for the next couple of weeks, anything is possible.