Glory-hunting British No1 Johanna Konta talked up her chances of one day sealing the Wimbledon title after her dreams of a maiden grand slam victory were dashed by a resolute Venus Williams in the semi-finals.
Konta was magnanimous in defeat after five-time champion Williams, 37, rekindled her SW19 flame to triumph 6-4, 6-2 and become the oldest grand slam singles finalist since Martina Navratilova at the All England Club in 1994.
Her straight-sets pummelling came 24 hours after Sir Andy Murray’s Centre Court demise and ruined Konta’s hopes of repeating the feat of Virginia Wade, who was the last British woman to be crowned Wimbledon champion in 1977.
But Konta’s trailblazing run on the Wimbledon lawns has ensured the 26-year-old will rocket into the top five when the world rankings are updated next week, and the Sydney-born right-hander is convinced that future silverware beckons.
“I definitely feel like there’s no reason why I wouldn’t be able to be in a position to win a title like this one day,” said Konta.
“I’m very happy with how I was physically and mentally able to hold up this past grass-court season. I stayed healthy and mentally quite fresh and ready to keep getting challenged and embracing those challenges along the way.
“That only strengthens my belief that if I’m ever in a position to be involved in a slam for the full fortnight, that I will be able to keep myself in that mental and physical state to be able to deal with one day playing for a title.
“But in terms of now, I’m happy with the matches I played and the way I rose to each challenge. I fell at this hurdle, unfortunately. Hopefully next time I will be able to go a step further.”
The first set went with serve until the 10th game when seven-time grand slam winner Williams, who mixed poise with belligerence and moments of sheer power, broke her rival to seize the initiative.
Konta’s Wimbledon campaign, which had promised so much, was then over in 73 minutes; Williams broke her serve in the second set and by the time the young pretender had saved two mach points the writing was on the wall.
Williams – playing her 101st Wimbledon singles match compared to a 12th for Konta – will contest her second grand slam final of 2017 against 14th seed Garbine Muguruza on Saturday.
Muguruza, a Wimbledon finalist in 2015, cantered to victory over unseeded Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia in 64 minutes, winning 6-1, 6-1. Williams, meanwhile, will look to keep the SW19 title in the family after younger sister Serena’s back-to-back successes in 2015 and 2016.