Johanna Konta was happy to have royal support at Wimbledon – even if she did not realise it at the time.
The British number one defeated Romanian qualifier Ana Bogdan 7-5 6-2 in a slightly scrappy match on Court One to move through to the second round for the fourth straight year.
Konta met the Duchess of Cambridge at the practice courts before the match but was not aware that the tennis-loving royal was also in the stands.
“I didn’t actually see her watching me,” said Konta. “I was told she might come, but then I also know that their plans can change very quickly. I hope she enjoyed it because I enjoyed playing.
“It’s always exciting to have members of the Royal family come to this event. I think it adds just to the air of the place, makes it that much more special, especially for everybody who knows that royalty is coming, more than anything.”
It was the second time Konta has met the Duchess having also chatted to her at the National Tennis Centre in 2017.
The 19th seed said: “I got to meet her briefly, say hello to her before I played today. That was nice. We were just actually talking about Court One, the new roof, playing on there, if it will be any different. I said I’ll let her know.
“I think the Royal family is great. I’m a big fan of the Royal family. But I’m a big fan of tradition. I think that goes very much in hand with that. I really think they do a lot for us.”
Konta is the best hope for home success in the singles after reaching the semi-finals of the French Open.
She has not yet shown the same form on grass, losing relatively early in Birmingham and Eastbourne, and did not have things all her own way against 132nd-ranked Bogdan.
It was attack against defence, with Konta hitting substantially more winners – 27 to nine in the match – but also more errors.
However, she took her chance when it came in the 12th game to win the opening set and then broke serve twice more in the second.
Konta saved both the break points she faced and was relieved to come through after admitting she did not play her best tennis.
“There was very little in that match,” she said. “I think first rounds are always tricky in any tournament, but especially slams. So I think it was just finding my feet and also for her a little bit, as well, I think we were just both trying to find the best level that we could.
“I was really pleased with how I served, how I just competed in general. Overall I’m just pleased to have come through.”
Konta led a standout day for the home nation, with seven British players now through to the second round in the two singles competitions.
“I think there’s every reason for us to be able to do that,” said Konta. “We’ve got such great players. That’s really a good position for us.”
In the second round, the 28-year-old will face Czech Katerina Siniakova, who knocked out then world number one Naomi Osaka at the French Open.