London: Johanna Konta and Simona Halep warmed up for their Wimbledon quarter-final grudge match by trading verbal volleys on Monday.
British star Konta and Romanian world number two Halep were involved in a spiteful Fed Cup clash between their countries in April and the bad blood was still lingering as the rivals discussed their impending Wimbledon showdown.
Konta was reduced to tears by what she felt were threats and intimidation from the Romanian fans in Constanta during her match against Sorana Cirstea.
Romania coach Ilie Nastase was sent from the court after calling Konta and his British counterpart Anne Keothavong "bitches" and was later banned from the stadium following a foul-mouthed rant at a British journalist.
Both Halep and Cirstea questioned Konta's version of events, with the world number two taking obvious delight in beating the British number one the next day as Romania went on to win the tie.
At the time, Konta claimed she was still troubled by the crowd abuse when she lost to Halep, but, speaking ahead of their Wimbledon meeting on Tuesday, the Romanian was adamant the fans had done nothing wrong.
"In my opinion, the public was very fair. Was nothing to do. Some other stuff happened there," Halep said.
"I didn't talk much about that subject with her. Just after the match in that day, I said, Sorry if she felt bad. She knows how she felt there.
"You pretty know what happened (with Nastase). I don't want to comment about that. It's past. It's very far."
Adding to the potential for a feisty encounter on Tuesday, Halep can climb to the top of the world rankings with a win, while Konta is looking to move a step closer to becoming the first British woman to win Wimbledon since Virginia Wade in 1977.
Konta insisted she would do her best to block out the Fed Cup row when she steps on court.
"I'm playing against another tennis player. I'm not playing against a crowd. I'm not playing against a past experience," she said.
"I'm looking forward to playing against Simona Halep, the top tennis player, who is playing well right now.
"It's a great opportunity for me to play again against one of the best in the world, and to really enjoy being in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon."
Published Date: Jul 10, 2017 11:38 pm | Updated Date: Jul 10, 2017 11:38 pm