After Friday's straight-sets loss to Garbine Muguruza in Rome, Johanna Konta confirmed that she is no longer working with Thomas Hogstedt, the coach who accompanied her during her recent appearances in New York.
In her post-match video conference, Konta told reporters that her collaboration with Hogstedt had only been for a trial period of three weeks. As such, she did not consider him to be an official coach appointment to place alongside the five main coaches she has worked with since 2016.
“It wasn’t something that worked for me really or for either of us,” said Konta of Hogstedt, who has previously coached four major champions in Maria Sharapova, Li Na, Caroline Wozniacki and Simona Halep. “Things have to match up. You have to be able to bring the best out of each other, and we didn’t feel that it was gonna be a good fit.”
Konta bridled at the suggestion that she is a serial sacker of coaches, explaining that the recent departure of Dimitri Zavialoff – the softly spoken Swiss who helped introduce some new variety to her game last season – had not been her choice.
“I don’t think I change coaches often,” she said. “I worked with Dimitri for a year and a half, and actually I didn’t want that to end. That ended because of personal circumstances. Since then I have continued to work with [assistant coach] Dan Smethurst, so there is a lot of continuation there. I met with Thomas for three weeks. I didn’t hire him as a coach. I was getting to know him.”
The news will not surprise Laura Robson, the former British No 1, who last month used her role as an Amazon Prime pundit to cast scepticism on the Konta-Hogstedt partnership. “Hogstedt seems like a very weird choice for me to pair with Johanna because they are so individual and so dead set on whatever they think is best,” said Robson. "He is known to be quite difficult to work with, to the point where I remember Sharapova would not go for dinner with him. I think they [Konta and Hogstedt] might have a couple of long weeks inside the bubble.”
In Rome this time, Konta was accompanied only by long-time fitness trainer Gill Myburgh. She beat Irina-Camelia Begu convincingly in her opening match before going down to Muguruza on Friday by a 6-4, 6-1 scoreline. Now she will return home for a few days before travelling to Paris for the upcoming French Open, the tournament where she reached the semi-finals last year.
“I think I have every chance of doing well [in Paris],” said Konta on Friday. “I showed I was playing some good tennis here, which I would like to build on. But there are 128 girls in the draw who have every opportunity to do well.”
The new US Open champion Naomi Osaka will not be among that field. Osaka withdrew from the French Open on Friday, citing lingering soreness in the left hamstring that she kept heavily strapped up for most of her matches in New York.