“I’ve always had the belief of wanting to become a Grand Slam champion, wanting to become the best in the world.”
Those were Johanna Konta’s words after beating Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets to win the biggest trophy of her career so far, the Miami Open, on Saturday.
They go a long way to illustrating the British No1’s ambition and drive to get to the top and be the best player she can possibly be.
You get the impression that the 25-year-old won’t rest until she wins a maiden major title and goes as far as topping the WTA Tour rankings.
Her climb from World No146 (June 2015) to become the new World No7 this month has been a monumental rise – and the odds are stacked in her favour to go further.
Serena Williams’ domination of women’s tennis is far from over but she won’t be around forever and with German Angelique Kerber suffering a dip in form, Konta is well placed to keep on moving up.
Tournament upon tournament, she seems to be growing in stature and is facing the likes of Wozniacki and Agnieszka Radwanska, two players close to her in the rankings, with lots of confidence.
And, of course, she is beating them too on a consistent basis.
“I think that stays throughout, with every player I imagine, in their career (to win a Grand Slam),” she told journalists after victory in Florida.
“Without that, I don’t think it makes it as… the victories as sweet and I think also the defeats as motivating. I think that stays.
“And then it’s about keeping things simple and working for me. I just want to work and try to really bring out in myself the most that I have. Wherever that gets me that’s where it will get me, but hopefully the day I hang up my racquets I will be able to say that I really maximized my full ability and, my, yeah, everything inside me.”
Indeed, Konta’s work ethic and desire to improve is up there with the best.
It’s a default answer from most players that they are ‘working hard’ but with Konta, you completely buy into it.
Add in the fact she changed coaches at the end of her most successful season last year, appointing Wim Fissette to work alongside Andrew Fitzpatrick, underlines her quest for perfection and constant progression.
“I was very fortunate that throughout the years I’ve managed to have some very, very good people around me,” Konta, who had to deal with the emotional heartbreak of her psychologist Juan Coto dying last year, said.
“I think the more I was able to absorb from them, their knowledge and wisdom, and the more I was able to reinvest that into the matches that I played, and on a consistent basis, I think that’s part of reason I’m here now.”
Having reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open, Konta showed once again in Miami that she is capable of beating the best players in the world back-to-back.
A tilt at a Wimbledon title in July will now consume much of her focus, as well as the British press.
On the court, and just as much off it, her story has always carried interest following her upbringing in Sydney and switching her sporting allegiance from Australia to Britain – becoming a British citizen in May 2012.
Konta is only the fourth British female to ever reach the top 10 and she will be well supported when this SW19 campaign comes around.
It’s hype she has the temperament and professionalism to handle though.
Before the lawns of London, the clay court season may just arrive at the best time for Konta. It’s pretty much a win-win for the Brit, given she has never progressed past the first round at the French Open before.
That, in itself, means any run of sorts will give her plenty of confidence.
One thing’s for sure, expect Konta to be in the mix for a Grand Slam title this season.