Three-time Grand Slam semi-finalist Johanna Konta has made a successful return to the pitch after a two-month absence in which she battled COVID-19 and faced a ‘massive range of symptoms’.
Britain’s Konta revealed her battle after qualifying for the second round of the National Bank Open in Montreal on Tuesday when her opponent Zhang Shuai (leg) retired in the second set.
“Definitely the worst disease I have known in a very long time,” Konta told The Associated Press.
The 30-year-old former world No.4 had to withdraw from Wimbledon after coming in close contact with a positive case of COVID-19 and then contracted the virus herself, missing the Tokyo Olympics.
“It was very heartbreaking and very difficult. There was nothing good or fun about having COVID and missing Wimbledon and the Olympics,” Konta said.
Konta said neither she nor her fiancé had been hospitalized “but we were pretty sick”.
She said she had to wait almost three weeks after falling ill to resume training.
“We took it very, very slowly. Then I had my full checkup, as far as my heart, my lungs, everything, and everything was back to normal,” Konta said.
“Then we started to do a little more and here we are. “
In a strange twist of fate, Konta was back on the pitch on Tuesday against Zhang, the last player she faced on tour in the turf tournament final in Nottingham on June 13.
Konta won this match for his fourth WTA title.
World number 41 Konta lost the first set 4-6 on Tuesday, but was leading 5-2 in the second when Zhang retired.
The next step for Konta is a meeting in the 32nd final with Ukrainian world No.5 Elina Svitolina.
In other results, fifth seed and former Roland Garros champion Garbine Muguruza was upset in three sets by Czech Katerina Siniakova while No.9 seed Elise Mertens was beaten by Italian Camila Giorgi 6-3 7-5.
Seeders Petra Kvitova (seventh), Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (10th) and Coco Gauff (15th) all advanced on Tuesday.