In Part II of the newly retired Johnna Konta's interview with WTA Insider, she discusses the "daunting" task of embarking on her post-career journey, her interest in media and why tennis has set her up to handle anything in the future.
"I feel very confident in the fact that whatever new thing life throws at me, which it will, I feel very equipped to deal with it because of all the different emotional stresses and things that have been thrown at me already," she said. "Through that, I was learning."
Read Part I of the interview here.
A little update from me 👋 pic.twitter.com/L1tpjDHW1o— Johanna Konta (@JohannaKonta) December 1, 2021
WTA Insider: You used the word "daunting" earlier in reference to transitioning out of tennis and into your new life. What do the next steps look like for you?
Konta: It's a funny feeling because we've been on this hamster wheel of knowing exactly what you're doing. Hopefully, you make it to the biggest stages, then it's even more of a hamster wheel in the sense that your year is literally the same every year. To be fair, I cannot say for my career that that got monotonous because I didn't spend that long on that hamster wheel because of when I made it to the top of our sport.
What am I good at? What am I good at outside of playing? I don't know. I never had a reason to find out. And I feel very lucky that I never had a reason to find out because [being a successful tennis player] wasn't written in the stars for me.
I've had a lot of other things going on right now. I have family here from Australia and we've moved into a new house. So that's been super busy. So to be fair, I don't think until the house is fully done, until my sister and the kids leave, and it's just [boyfriend] Jackson and I, and there's actually nothing going on, will I fully feel the feeling quiet.
So, yeah, I think giving myself time and being OK with being a little lost for a little bit. I think there's nothing wrong with that. Thoughts will come up and feelings will come up on kind of where to go next, I think.
WTA Insider: You're still so young. You're only 30.
Konta: It's actually really interesting because I do have an interest in media. TV work, radio work and things like that.
I can't remember who I was talking to, but I remember them saying, "Oh, but you're so young." It actually took me back a bit because in my career, I've only ever been old. Even when I was at 25, I was old, I'm like a senior citizen.
That is going to be something to get my head around. I have the opportunity to actually have a longer career in something else. That's what's funny. This has been my whole life since I have memory, since I was about 7 or 8 years old. In the grand scheme of things - knock on wood, I go on to have a long healthy life - this is technically only a 23-year part of that. I could easily have a 30- or 40-year career in something else.
WTA Insider: What do you take from tennis into your new life?
Konta: I think through this process of trying to literally pull every single thing out of myself to become the best that I can be in something that I had a dream of as a child, I guess I went through an incredibly intense process of really getting to know myself. Having to dissect and analyze every part of myself to make sure that what I was doing and what I was bringing to the table was going to enable me to bring the best out of myself. Really understanding myself emotionally, mentally, physically.
That self-awareness, and also that self-awareness being tested under stress, embarrassment, probably some of the most extreme emotions you can feel, probably gives me that self-awareness of knowing how I react to things. I feel very confident in the fact that whatever new thing life throws at me, which it will, I feel very equipped to deal with it because of all the different emotional stresses and things that have been thrown at me already. Through that, I was learning.
However life will change, I definitely feel equipped to deal with it. It's that feeling of self-assurance and knowing yourself, that I can handle this. That's probably the biggest thing it gives me.
And also things like when I got to work with Juan [Coto, Konta's mental coach who passed away in 2016]. That would have never happened. There would have never been an active reason to happen. It's people like that who have given me things for my life and almost nothing to do with tennis.
I take those experiences, those relationships with people that impacted me in ways that were so much bigger than tennis, those resources that they bestowed upon me. Those human interactions, those people I had in my life, and then all the work that I had to do to understand myself to be able to do what I was doing the best that I could, that's what I take forward.