Johanna Konta confident she is on right path for Australian Open


British No 1 Johanna Konta goes into the Australian Open feeling positive after suffering a dramatic slump during the second half of last year.

The 26-year-old reached a high of fourth in the rankings after her stunning run to the Wimbledon semi-finals but won only two more matches in 2017.

She ended the year on a run of five straight losses and subsequently split from coach Wim Fissette.

Her start to 2018 has been significantly more positive and she came through two tough matches in Brisbane before suffering an injury scare when a hip problem prompted her to pull out during her quarter-final against Elina Svitolina.

But anxiety was evident again as her title defence at the Sydney International ended with a first-round defeat by Agnieszka Radwanska.

Although she admits her anxieties may resurface, the ninth seed is confident she is ultimately on the right path.

World number nine Konta retired from her Brisbane quarter-final when 3-2 down in the deciding set

"You can never answer that question fully because you never know," she said. "You never know what's around the corner. You never know what kind of challenges come.

"I'd like to think that I'm definitely further along than when I was before Brisbane, and even further along than when I was in Sydney. I think even that match in Sydney has helped me along my way in really trying to play at the level that I want to play.

"I think a lot of it will get better and better with time. I think the rest that I had at the end of last year already helped with a lot of the issues that I was faced with.

Konta feeling confident in her ability going into the Australian Open.

"I think I feel confident enough in my own ability that I will get back to the level that I want to play and even better than that with time.

However many matches I win or lose in between that is not going to change the course that I feel I'm on."

Guiding Konta now is American Michael Joyce, who has previously worked with Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka.

Joyce's calm demeanour certainly seems a good fit and Konta feels his playing experience - he reached a high of 64 in the rankings - is a big asset.

Naomi Broady failed to make the main draw in Melbourne

She said: "He is very relaxed. He was a player so I think he can empathize a lot with some of the challenges and difficulties you face. He also coaches with a lot of feel, a lot of intuition, and so far I'm really enjoying spending time with him."

Konta will open her campaign on Tuesday against American Madison Brengle.

Naomi Broady's long wait to play her second-round qualifying match ended in disappointment as she went out of the tournament to Bibiane Schoofs of the Netherlands 7-6 (7-5) 6-2.

Broady's loss means Johanna Konta, Heather Watson and Kyle Edmund are Britain's only representatives in the singles main draws.

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