After putting together the best season of her career so far, World No.9 Johanna Konta was awarded Player of the Year honors by Britain's Lawn Tennis Writers Association earlier this week at the LTWA's 66th annual year-end luncheon. The award was given in recognition of Konta's "services to British tennis" during her 2017 season, which saw her win the biggest title of her career at the Miami Open, advance to her first Wimbledon semifinal, and rise to a career-high No.4 in the rankings. She is the first active WTA player to earn Player of the Year honors from the LTWA since Elena Baltacha in 2010.
"It's an honor obviously," Konta said on the WTA Insider Podcast. "It's nice to be recognized for your achievements. Spending so much time with the journalists you go through the highs and lows with them, so it's nice to be recognized."
"This year was especially different compared to other years because it was the first time I had experienced mandatory media at every tournament I played. I hadn't had that previously, so that was another learning curve for me - for the good and the bad - mostly for the good though.
"Having such coverage for our sport, in this country, in particular, you only have to take it as a good thing. It promotes tennis, usually in a positive way. So I can only be grateful for that and grateful for the journalists for that."
Having experienced a meteoric rise in the rankings from being ranked outside the Top 150 just over two years ago, the 26-year-old has quickly learned to embrace her platform as one of the leading female athletes in Britain, with the aim of breaking down negative stereotypes when it comes to women in sport.
"I think we're reasonably lucky in this country because of two words: Andy Murray," Konta said. "He's such a massive supporter of women and women in every role. He's been so consistent in his messaging in that and we're so incredibly lucky in that. So I can only try and continue on with his messaging because I believe in that as well."
"I think my first and foremost intention has always been to stay true to me. To really represent what I love about the sport and the integrity that I love about tennis. That has always been my baseline. I've tried to go along with that and really talk about the things I know and things I have experienced.
"I know quite a few barriers have been broken down but I think sports are not necessarily seen as feminine. I think as a female in sports you automatically gravitate towards continuing to break down those barriers and show the sport for what it is and all the amazing things that it is and how all the other things are irrelevant."
Hear more from Konta on the newest episode of the WTA Insider Podcast below:
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