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Konta tipped to win Australian Open

Konta tipped to win Australian Open

The 26-year-old enters the tournament, historically the grand slam where she has done best, also with a new coach in Michael Joyce, who worked with Maria Sharapova from 2004-11 and helped the Russian to the world's top ranking.

"I think besides the physical struggles I was having with my foot, which definitely hindered my ability to stay as present and as focused as I wanted to on court because of the pain I was having, the worries, and everything, that all kind of snowballed and accumulated", Konta told reporters during the Australian Open's media day.

"Jo has a lot of characteristics like Maria", he said. And you have to learn in a way, and I actually didn't do it, as a player, I didn't do it very good. They both want it really bad. "I like to think he'll be back, while I'm shouldering the burden". But Joyce still sees them as two peas from the same pod. They're not going to leave any stone unturned. When I was with Maria (Sharapova), you had Serena and Venus, (Lindsay) Davenport and (Kim) Clijsters and (Justine) Henin. So when it comes to that, it's pretty easy for me'.

"But in previous years, actually stuff that you guys don't even know - because it isn't documented because no one cared - but when I was around 150 for a long time, there were periods when it was incredibly hard, where you go through emotions of whether you can still do this, whether you are even any good at this, whether it's just bad".

He said: "Before we agreed to work together I spent a lot of time watching her matches from the last few years". Ten years ago, when Sharapova was at the height of her powers, he believes the women's top ten was stronger than it is now. But I feel girls that are ranked 40, 50 are a lot better now. I like the offensive-style player, and I think hers is a simple game if she's executing.

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The end result is that the major tournaments are wide open and that leaves Konta with as good a chance as anyone of lifting the
silverware.

'I knew Esteban just because I had played him a little bit and I remember telling him, "I don't know exactly what you've done, but it's pretty fantastic to see a girl at her age be able to turn around her career like that". It's just that there's probably 25 other people that can do it.

"I think it's sad not to have him here", Konta said of Murray's decision to have hip surgery. "Maria might have been a little bit better, especially when she was younger, at hiding everything, but at the same time it's one of those things". "When the opportunity came up with Jo I knew right off the bat that she's a contender to get to the top", he said.

Seeded No.9 in Melbourne, Konta is set to get her campaign underway on Tuesday against Madison Brengle, an opponent she's well familiar with.

Soothing Konta's temperament was partly the work of her last coach but one, Esteban Carril, who helped eradicate the panics she would sometimes experience in the heat of battle.


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