British number one Johanna Konta believes she has done everything she can to be ready for her first meeting with 22-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams at the Australian Open. Konta, 25, will face second seed Williams in the quarter-finals tomorrow.
“I’ve played quite a few Grand Slam champions and former world number ones,” said world number nine Konta. “So I’ve prepared myself as much as possible for a competitor like Serena.”
Konta beat Russian 30th seed Ekaterina Makarova 6-1 6-4 to reach the last eight without dropping a set. She has a 2-1 winning record over Serena’s sister Venus – a nine-time Grand Slam winner and former world number one – including a first-round victory at last year’s Australian Open.
It will be Konta’s second quarter-final at a Grand Slam, after reaching the semi-final in Melbourne last year, compared to 35-year-old Serena’s 47th.
“I’ve been fortunate enough that I’ve played her sister a few times and I think she’s just as incredible,” said Konta. “I was thinking I’d love the opportunity to be on court with her before she retires. But I doubt she’s talking retirement.
“She will be playing until the very last ball she can physically hit. Hopefully it won’t be the last time I play her before she retires.” Serena, in pursuit of her seventh Australian Open title, had only played two matches between the end of the US Open in August and her first-round victory in Melbourne.
Konta, meanwhile, remained busy on tour and took her world ranking from 49 at the end of 2015 to a career-high of nine. “I watch her game a lot. She’s been doing really, really well, She has a very attacking game and I look forward to it,” said Serena. “I have absolutely nothing to lose in this tournament. Everything here is a bonus for me. Obviously I am here to win, and hopefully I can play better.”