It may have been a whirlwind rise through the rankings for Johanna Konta during the last 12 months but British men’s world number two Andy Murray is confident it is just the start for the Eastbourne tennis star.
Twelve months ago, Konta was a relative unknown on the international stage and was having to go through qualifying to reach the main draws of the Grand Slams.
It is all change now though with the 24-year-old, currently at 22 in the world, looking to next month’s French Open to continue a run of Grand Slam performances which has seen her reach the fourth round at the US Open and the semi-final of the Australian Open.
The latter meant Britain had a female in the semi-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time since 1983, although with attention now on clay rather than the hard courts, Konta faces an altogether different challenge.
She has yet to win a match in the main draw of the French Open but Murray has seen enough of his British teammate to believe Konta is here to stay – and could even team up with her at this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio.
“I don’t think anyone really see Johanna’s rise coming. It’s kind of been since the US Open last year that she really has been playing great,” he said.
“She had always been good, I’d seen her play a bit and thought she was a good player but she’s made good improvements to her game.
“She’s doing really well now and deserves to be where she is because it’s not like she’s there through one fortunate tournament.
“She has been extremely consistent for a number of months now and has had good wins against the best players.
“It’s impossible to know really how far anyone can go, a lot of things influence that so the players that are around you.
“But also your motivation and your work ethic – if that continues, and she keeps wanting to get better and improving then there’s no reason why she continue.
“It’s possible we could play together in Rio. I’ve spoken to Johanna and also to my brother (for the men’s doubles) and we just need to see.
“It’s not about what’s best for me, it’s more what give the team the best chance of winning a medal.
Murray was talking after announcing that he has set up his own tennis event, Andy Murray Live presented by SSE, to help raise money for charity.
The event, which will take place on 21 September at the SSE Hydro, will feature both singles and doubles matches, with Jamie Murray, France’s Gael Monfils and former British number one Tim Henman also making up the line up alongside Murray.
Profits from the event will go to local Glasgow children’s charity Young People’s Futures and Unicef – of which Murray is an official ambassador.