Johanna Konta has never won a match in the main draw here at the French Open, but the 27-year-old Briton sees no reason why she should not do well at the only Grand Slam tournament played on clay.
“I feel very comfortable on this surface,” Konta said here on Friday, two days before the start of the tournament. “I’ve also simplified a lot of things for the clay season this year, worked hard on not over-thinking it and just trusting in my movement and how it’s pretty much the same with all surfaces.
“I’m there to get behind the ball. I tried to think about that. Movement-wise on the surface I’m anticipating moving forward more as the points are a bit longer and the ball can shorten up a little bit.”
Konta reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon and the Australian Open and made the fourth round of the US Open, but has lost in the first round in all three of her appearances in the main draw here.
However, the world No 22 pointed out that her conqueror last year, Su-Wei Hsieh, had gone on to perform well elsewhere and that Julia Goerges, who beat Konta in 2016, performs particularly well on clay.
“I think there needs to be respect given to the players that I played and the level that they produced,” Konta said. “Every year that I come here I look forward to it because I know I can play well on the clay. Before I started playing more on the WTA tour I actually won most of my Challengers on the clay, especially at the very beginning.”
Konta said she had not spent any time in training on practising her sliding technique. “I know how to slide on the clay,” she said. “I’ve been playing on the clay since I was a young girl, even back in Australia at the time. I won the lead-in to the under-14 Nationals on clay. So I trust in that, that I can do that.”
She added: “I’m really happy to be here. This year preparation-wise I’ve had some really great matches on the clay and had some good time. I feel like I’m playing to my level in general, regardless of surface. I’m playing better and better so I’m hoping to continue that here and keep building on that. I back myself in every way to be able to go deep into the tournament.”