WTA

Johanna Konta: Motherhood is boring compared to life as a tennis player

By Sports Desk July 11, 2023

Johanna Konta admits to finding motherhood boring compared to her previous life but said she is “very committed to retirement”.

Caroline Wozniacki is the latest player to announce a return to the sport after retiring and starting a family but Konta insists that is not a path she will be taking.

The 32-year-old announced in December 2021 that she was calling time on her career and she gave birth to daughter Emmeline last September.

She has picked up a racket again to play in the invitational doubles at Wimbledon, where Wozniacki is also in the field, and was very open about the challenges of swapping a professional sporting career for changing nappies.

“A part of me will always miss it just because the kind of adrenaline and the life you live as a successful professional tennis player, you can’t replicate in any part of your life,” said Konta.

“Compared to that, motherhood is frankly quite boring. It’s very monotonous and it’s fundamentally not really enjoyable, for me anyway.

“I love my daughter. When I put her down for naps I get excited for when she’s going to wake up. I’m to the moon in love with my daughter but I think the act of motherhood is actually really tough.

 

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“It’s monotonous, boring and, compared to what I used to do, which is play on Centre Court and travel the world and live a really selfish existence, to then be thrown into a very selfless existence, it’s a really hard transition, and it’s not fun.

“But I would choose it every single day over playing on Centre Court. I really love what my life was but I am learning to love my life more now.”

Konta has not even been playing tennis socially and described her first day back on court at Wimbledon as “rusty and painful”.

“The first day I was so sore everywhere but the last few days it’s been fine,” she added. “Don’t ask me to move a lot, though. That’s not what it used to be. I’m very committed to retirement.”

While Konta’s retirement was initially overshadowed by Emma Raducanu winning the US Open, the latter’s struggles have thrown into focus what a stellar career her predecessor as British number one put together.

Konta reached three grand slam semi-finals and three more quarter-finals while reaching a high of fourth in the world rankings in 2017.

By contrast, Britain did not have a direct entrant in the women’s singles here or at the French Open and current leading woman Katie Boulter is ranked 89.

“You want British interest,” said Konta, who is carving out a new career in broadcasting.

“You guys want British interest in the second week of grand slams, the players who are playing want to be in the second week. Everyone has the same desire, and also it’s good for the kids back home to see British representation on the female side.

“Everyone’s working towards the same goal, everyone’s giving their best and hopefully it will be happening.”

Raducanu is now down at 132 in the rankings and is unlikely to return until the autumn following surgeries on her wrists and ankle, but she still appears the best British hope of a leading player in the near future.

Konta highlighted fitness as the key to whether Raducanu can return to the top 10, saying: “I think just consistent physical health, for her to get physically robust is probably the number one priority because that has been her biggest hurdle.

“For her to be able to play enough tournaments, enough matches, will give her then the chance to win.”

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