Tennis

Rusedski advises Jo Konta to follow Rafael Nadal's lead to regain confidence

Greg Rusedski believes Johanna Konta should be more open, like Rafael Nadal, in order to escape her confidence slump.

Konta, the British No. 1, suffered with heart palpitations on what was her return to WTA Tour action on Monday as she went down 6-4 6-4 to Marie Bouzkova.

Early in the first set she required medical attention but afterwards insisted she was ‘absolutely fine’.

‘I sometimes have a heart palpitation,’ she said after the match. ‘Basically my heart rate shoots up for no reason, as you couldn’t see we didn’t have a long point, I wasn’t gassing in any way in my lungs.

‘My heart rate shoots up. It doesn’t go down. It stays there. So, it makes me a bit lightheaded, I just needed to see the doctor and the physio to see where it was at. It was very high when they came out.

‘It’s a management thing. This has happened only four times – and twice in the last three months. We are keeping an eye on it, having all the heart checks. There is nothing wrong. I am fit as a fiddle apparently.

‘It can happen and I am susceptible to it. It took a while to settle down until about 4-3 in the first set, but then it did settle down and I was able to concentrate on the tennis and not so much on the heart.’

Konta insists there is no common denominator to explain the problem, claiming it’s reared its ugly head in both ‘stressful and non-stressful’ situations.

But Rusedski, the former world No. 4 and US Open finalist, thinks a lack of confidence is playing a significant role and that Konta’s refusal to acknowledge her shortcomings leads to further mental issues – something he experienced during his own career.

‘It’s a combination of a few things, conditions were hot and humid, and when you’re anxious and stressed all of a sudden your heart starts racing, you get palpitations, but the good news is she managed to calm it down, get back to her tennis,’ Rusedski told Amazon Prime.

‘She hasn’t had much confidence of late. At the Battle of the Brits she struggled to win matches.

‘She hasn’t had a great start to this year and if you look at her career, she has one very good year and then the next year after that she drops off and then comes back again, and that’s dealing with anxiety and stress and that’s something she has to manage, she puts way too much pressure on herself and hopefully with her new coach Thomas Hogstedt, they can sort that out, that to me is more mental than physical at times.’

He added: ‘There is a little bit of denial, it’s a combination of both, when you’re stressed your heartbeat goes up, especially in hot conditions, and when you put too much pressure on yourself, so these things do happen to you  and I think she has got to come out and admit to it.

‘I look at Rafael Nadal, whether he is feeling great or feeling bad, he tells you the truth of the situation, and when you tell the truth in those matters, it’s easier to get over them. Jo is not very confident, at the moment, and when you’re not confident you go into your shell.

‘That’s what I have done in my career as well, sometimes I wish that I had been more honest and straightforward about situations, but the good news is, she is healthy, she is working hard, and if she can get over this little hump she can get back to some of her best form.’

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