Johanna Konta overcomes stiff neck and prepares to face Alja Tomljanovic in Australian Open first round

Johanna Konta overcomes stiff neck and prepares to face Alja Tomljanovic in Australian Open first round

The former Australian Open semi-finalist Johanna Konta says she is glad that things are looking up – quite literally – since she arrived in Melbourne last week.

Konta had performed an unusual double-withdrawal manoeuvre in Sydney last week, pulling out of two matches on successive days because of a frozen neck. But a change of geographical state, from New South Wales to Victoria, has been matched by a miraculous improvement in her health.

“It was quite unfortunate,” said Konta. “I was warming up before my final qualifying match and my neck just kind of seized up – I couldn’t turn left and I couldn’t look up so that made it particularly difficult to hit normal strokes and also serve.

“I got a lucky loser [meaning that someone pulled out of the main draw, clearing a space for her] but I was scheduled the next day and it wasn’t any better – and to be fair it wasn’t any better on the Tuesday either.

“It was just a bit of a random thing and unfortunate, but I can look up now! It’s pretty much almost completely normal. I can live with this. I’m very happy about that but you don’t realise how much you use your neck until you can’t use it.”

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