Johanna Konta senses Wimbledon opportunity as she prepares to face Petra Kvitova

• British No 1 says it is an honour to play the Czech
• Konta and Kvitova meet in fourth round on Monday

Johanna Konta usually prefers not to speak directly about her opponents, focusing only on herself and her methods. But when she plays on Monday for a place in the quarter-finals, she will be do so against Petra Kvitova, the two-times champion at Wimbledon whose comeback to the top level has been an inspiration to everyone.

It is two and a half years since Kvitova survived a horrific knife attack in her home which almost cost her the fingers on her dominant left hand. The Czech, who won Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014, needed four hours of surgery but though doctors warned she may never play again, she was back on court within six months, her strengthand heart helping her to overcome huge obstacles.

“It’s a true testament to her passion for the game, her love for the game and I think her strength of character,” Konta said. “It is just great to see her enjoying this and being successful at it. She has always been very successful at this sport. She is an incredible player. And for her to bring that success and passion for the sport through something so terrible. It is a true honour to see.”

Kvitova reached the final at the Australian Open in January and though she is carrying an arm injury, which forced her to pull out of the French Open, the niggle has allowed her a freedom, a nice feeling at a tournament she loves more than any but where she feels the most pressure.

Konta has been playing her best tennis since she reached the semi-finals here two years ago. Her win against Sloane Stephens in the previous round was testament to her new-found ability to solve problems on the court, to find a second way when her natural game is not working. Against Kvitova, whom she has lost to three times out of four, she will need to defend well and may just need the help of the crowd.

Some players struggle under the pressure of performing in front of home fans but Konta seems to revel in it. “I never looked at it or approached this tournament as a burden, more just another great opportunity for me to do what I love and at home,” she said.

“Not everybody gets a home slam, not everybody gets home events. I am part of a very select few who getthat opportunity, so I can only really be grateful for that.”


Simon Cambers at Wimbledon

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