Johanna Konta picks a BBC Sports Personality of the Year winner and it's not herself

Sport360 staff 09:02 17/12/2017
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Johanna Konta with the Duchess of Cambridge at the LTA.

Johanna Konta has watched Andy Murray win BBC Sport Personality of the Year three times but never thought she would one day be Britain’s leading tennis contender.

While Murray has endured a disappointing 2017 riddled by injury, Konta enjoyed another stellar season that included finishing number nine in the world and reaching the semi-finals at Wimbledon.

She is among the 12 nominees shortlisted for the BBC’s 63-year-old prize, although rated an outside chance behind the likes of Harry Kane, Lewis Hamilton and clear favourite Anthony Joshua.

Konta was glued to the television when Murray triumphed in 2013, 2015 and 2016 and there was further success for tennis in 2015, when Britain’s Davis Cup squad was named Team of the Year.

“I remember Andy winning it, three of the last four years, and I actually remember the Davis Cup team won the team one,” Konta said.

“I think it’s more Andy that sticks out. But I never thought of me being on it. At that stage I wasn’t where I am now with my career.

“I didn’t really understand the context of it all or how it worked. So no at the time, I definitely didn’t think I it would be me one day.”

Joshua’s momentous win over Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley in April deems him the stand-out name on the list but Hamilton has a strong case too after a fourth world title made him Britain’s most successful Formula 1 driver.

Swimmer Adam Peaty, who broke his own world record twice in one day at the World Aquatic Championships in July, and Tottenham’s Kane, who grabbed the Premier League’s Golden Boot in May for a second season in a row, might also fancy their chances.

Jonnie Peacock, Elise Christie, Sir Mo Farah, Chris Froome, Jonathan Rea, Anya Shrubsole and Bianca Walkden complete the line-up.

Asked to pick a winner, Konta said: “I actually think, for me, Anthony Joshua or Adam Peaty.

“I do like those two but to be fair, the list is a bit of a joke. For it not to be an Olympic year and to have that much talent, it’s actually been pretty incredible the sport this year.

“I’ve essentially grown up watching it – I’ve been watching it since I’ve been here, so I know exactly what it is but I feel kind of removed from it.

“I don’t quite understand how I’m on the list and I know what the show is but it doesn’t feel one and the same. It feels exciting. To be among those names feels pretty ridiculous.”

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Petra Kvitova ready to look ahead positively after 'rollercoaster' year

Sport360 staff 21:16 16/12/2017
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Czech tennis star Petra Kvitova says a year on from being the victim of a horrific knife attack she can look to the future positively having successfully returned to the WTA circuit.

The 27-year-old two-time Wimbledon champion defied expectations in returning to competition despite suffering serious wounds to her playing left hand as she fought off a knife-wielding intruder at her home in the eastern Czech town of Prostejov in December 2016.

However, within months she had not only made a comeback but also won a title — the pre-Wimbledon tune-up event in Birmingham — and rounded off the Grand Slams with a quarter-final appearance in the US Open.

“Playing on the grass at Wimbledon (where she reached the second round) and getting a good result in the US Open was very important for me mentally, and for my confidence,” Kvitova told The Guardian newspaper.

“This year has been a rollercoaster. The beginning wasn’t very nice, so I’m really glad that it’s over. Now I can look at everything positively again.”

Kvitova, who reached a career high ranking of second in the world in December 2011, says she shrugged aside fears she would never play again.

“I did hear the rumours that I would never ever play again but I thought: ‘I will show them’,” said Kvitova, who has been playing since she was four.

“I was like: ‘Why are they saying this?’ It was very painful for me, it felt like they didn’t believe me.

“The week after surgery I asked my doctor: ‘Do you think I could play in Wimbledon this year?’ He didn’t answer for a while and then he said: ‘We are going to work on it and blah, blah, blah.’ I understood then that it wasn’t going to be easy.”

Kvitova, who has 20 titles to her credit, admits her hand is still not what it was.

“It will probably take more than a year to get full movement back, I’m not sure,” said Kvitova, who is presently ranked 29 in the world.

“For tennis and for life, it’s good.

“I am happy that (throughout the recovery) I was always looking forward to the better tomorrows.”

Kvitova, who was told last month police had shelved the investigation as they had hit a dead end in identifying her assailant, says she has grown to love her ‘new hand’.

“I have started to live with my new hand,” said Kvitova, who will kick off 2018 in the WTA tournament in Brisbane, Australia.

“I’ve started to try to like it, to love it and that’s how I am going to take it. It’s my hand and I am just happy that I have all of my fingers.”

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Tomljanovic gives classy speech after retiring from Habtoor final against Bencic in Dubai

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Ajla Tomljanovic admits it’s “the worst feeling” having to retire from a final but the Croatian still managed to give a classy runner-up speech, paying tribute to Belinda Bencic, who defeated her to claim the Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge title in Dubai on Saturday.

Tomljanovic retired while down 4-6 in the Dubai final due to a groin injury she picked up at the end of her semi-final the previous day.

“I just felt my groin in the previous match, like two points before the finish,” the 24-year-old told Sport360.

“It was a sharp pain. I thought today, sleeping through the night and kind of letting it recover it would be okay but it just kept getting worse the longer it was going on.


“And yeah, against a player like Belinda you have to be fully ready to run and play and when you’re kind of thinking about, that you’re hurting and stuff, it’s tough to play. I hate retiring, even more in the finals, it’s probably the worst feeling but it is what it is.”








Tomljanovic started her season end of February, unranked, following a 13-month hiatus due to shoulder injury, and will now rise to 118 in the world when the new rankings are released on Monday.


“Looking back I’m pretty proud of how far I’ve come with my game, mentally, I think I’ve set up a pretty good base for next year,” she added.


During her runner-up speech, Tomljanovic apologised to the fans for retiring, and congratulated Bencic on her impressive comeback with the Swiss also spending several months sidelines this year due to wrist surgery.


“First I just want to apologise for not finishing the match, trust me I probably feel worse than all of you,” said Tomljanovic, addressing the crowd.


“But I just want to congratulate Belinda and her team on a great couple weeks and just her overall comeback, I thought it was pretty impressive. She’s on a what? 15-match winning streak? And thanks for saying that in the warm-up,” she jokingly told the tournament director. “Like that made me feel great.”


Tomljanovic will begin her 2018 season in Brisbane followed by the Australian Open.



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