Former world No 4, Johanna Konta, has called out the archaic double standards she has copped in tennis media throughout her professional career.
The tennis star announced her retirement from the sport just last month, after suffering a long-term knee injury. In her first interview since announcing her retirement, Konta reflected on the sexist line of questioning she’s endured from tennis press, which she claims is “mainly made up of middle-aged men”.
Speaking exclusively to The Telegraph, Konta recalled being asked if her retirement was linked to a potential pregnancy, believing these queries regarding marriage and kids are solely directed to women players.
“As a woman, you start getting to a certain age, hitting certain milestones and then it is straightaway assumed – ‘okay, well, when’s the baby coming?’”, she said.
While Konta claimed questions like that had “no malice” attached to them, it is unlikely male players would be probed about their same personal matters.
“I’m not sure they’re asking Rafa Nadal when was finally going to marry his girlfriend before he did, or when he is going to have kids,” she said.
Konta went on to stress that it would be preferable if the line of questioning was more focussed on issues pertaining to her standout career that revitalised women’s tennis. The Sydney-born tennis star finished her career with four titles and three grand slam semi-final appearances.
“I don’t think it’s done with any harm, but it would be nice to talk about my career and things like that – like my male counterparts in the sport,” said Konta.
She also noted the outdatedness in asking questions revolving around marriage and kids, stating, “One, it’s a very personal decision and, you know, I think it can be a bit insensitive, especially for people who maybe don’t want to have children, or have other difficulties.”
“I think it was unfortunate that I was asked such questions, but I was not alone in that. And while our tennis press is mainly made up of middle-aged men, I think the questions are going to be catered so.”
This is not the first time Konta has called out the media box. After the 2018 French Open, and ranking 93rd in the world, she was confronted by journalists, pushing for answers on her poor record that year.
“How would you guys digest that, and would you feel any sort of lingering kind of, ‘Oh, you know what? I want to prove these b***ards wrong’…It’s not something I would like to buy into, and I don’t think I do. However, you guys don’t make it easy,” Konta responsed to the press.