Day 1 Reaction: Tough restart for Konta, British Bulldogs finish strongly
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It was a tough day for the British No. 1s at the Battle of the Brits Team Tennis. First, Progress Tour Women’s Championship runner-up Jodie Burrage handed Johanna Konta a restart defeat. Konta knew she was going to be up against someone who has been on an impressive streak of matches, winning 15 out of 18 matches since the domestic restart.
Burrage, who wisely took a week of after three straight weeks of play said: “I definitely think there was an element in there of me playing a lot of matches and Jo not playing any. I think that was her first match, which is always difficult. I remember my first match back after lockdown, which I actually used to my advantage. I spoke to my coaches about that before and they said 'remember how you felt in your first match, that's how she's going to be feeling so get on top of her, have good energy with her at the start of the match."
Konta, who withdraw from WTA Palermo now has eyes on as much match-time before hopefully heading to the US to start her season ahead of the US Open.
She said: “The whole point of this week is to reintroduce the stresses of competing in a tournament environment. The knee as well and the body in general, it's a very different kind of load on the body. An hour and a half match is a lot more stressful on the body than an hour and half practice session so it's just getting back into this sort of space which will hopefully help me to hit the ground running as much as possible when I get to Lexington and then all the US tournaments.”
Cameron Norrie downed the men’s No. 1 Dan Evans giving the British Bulldogs a lead, that just moments later was cancelled out with a Union Jacks’ two-point win in the mixed doubles thanks to Lloyd Glasspool and Naomi Broady.
With a surge of points from two Bulldog wins thanks to Emma Raducanu beating Katie Boulter, and a doubles win for Dom Inglot and Alex Grey, it all came down to the final match of the day.
Fast-paced with plenty of enthusiastic support from both teams, it was a winner-takes-all for first day honours, with Jamie Murray and Heather Watson overcoming a confident Joe Salisbury and Harriet Dart.
It was a great turnaround by Murray and Watson to take the second set and they looked in control in the match tie-break but Salisbury and Dart won eight points in a row to give the Bulldogs a 5-point lead over the Union Jacks at the end of the first day.