Dubai Tennis diary: Johanna Konta on 'acting' in tennis, Naomi Osaka is a tricky student

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And the Oscar goes to... Johanna Konta.

For me personally, sitting in the stands watching a tennis match feels like being at the theatre.

The grand entrances, the drama, the momentum swings… the upset that no one saw coming.

The more you know about the characters on court, the more connected you feel to the action. The players’ mannerisms and reactions are often just important as how they’re hitting the ball.

Every fist pump and scream sends a message to the opponent, and sometimes it’s masking how a competitor really feels inside.

“I definitely think there’s an element of acting on court. I think there is a good old saying of ‘fake it till you make it’. I think that definitely applies to some days more than others obviously,” Johanna Konta said when I asked her if she often makes a conscious effort to appear more confident on court.

“We are human, every player out there. We’re not going to feel great every single day. We’re not always going to play great. Those days where you’re not playing your best, you do put on a persona and you do try to fight your way through those days, try to find the best level you can on that day.

“I mean, I always look to be as positive as I can, yeah, as happy as I can on court.”

It’s the best kind of theatre, I tell you!


Japan’s Naomi Osaka is quite the character in press conference and her first one in Dubai was no exception.

She was asked about her new coach Sascha Bajin, whom she started working with this season, and whether she considers herself a good pupil.

“I learn very quickly, but I also forget very quickly,” she said with a laugh.

“It’s like it goes through one ear and out the other. I sort of have to practice a lot from my brain to say, ‘Okay, this is something you have to do forever now’.”

That certainly must be fun for Bajin!

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