“What are you?” John Humphrys grills Johanna Konta about her nationality for no reason

Unnecessarily aggressive interview shock.

NS

Sign Up

Get the New Statesman's Morning Call email.

On 10 July, women’s singles star Johanna Konta became the first British woman to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals since the Seventies. The crowd on Henman Hill were in such raptures that it was nicknamed “Konta Contour” and “Konta Kop”. They cheered her on from under umbrellas in the pouring rain, as she beat Simona Halep to a historic victory.

Does anything make you feel more British than a home player winning against the odds on a wet Monday afternoon? Well, there is one thing. A grumpy old white man and mouthpiece of the establishment turning the whole joyous event into a racism row of course! Dear old Blighty.

The BBC’s irate-dinosaur-in-chief John Humphrys outraged listeners by grilling Konta about her nationality on the Radio 4 Today programme, where he has an off-putting line in unnecessarily aggressive interviews.

Audio: Telegraph

Unable to grasp that someone who wasn’t born in the UK could possibly be – splutter – British, he thundered:

“We talk about you as being British but you were born in Hungary, Australian citizenship, and I seem to remember that the Australian High Commissioner when you won the quarter-final said ‘Great to see an Aussie win’ and we were saying ‘Great to see a Brit win’ – so what are you?”

Konta graciously handled the interview-turned-border control interrogation by giving a dismissive laugh and informing Humphrys that she wasn’t born in Hungary, and has lived in Britain half her life, representing it in both tennis tournaments and the Olympics for years.

“I’m definitely a British athlete,” she concluded. As if she needed to.

I'm a mole, innit.