Australian Open: Johanna Konta plays down expectations despite Sydney win

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In-form Konta 'happy' before Australian Open
Australian Open 2017
Venue: Melbourne Park, Melbourne Dates: 16-29 Jan
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra plus TV highlights on BBC Two from 21 Jan; live text on selected matches on BBC Sport website

British number one Johanna Konta says it is "not a given" that she will be a contender for the Australian Open title despite winning the warm-up tournament.

Konta, who broke into the world's top 10 last year, beat Agnieszka Radwanska to win her second WTA trophy at the Sydney International on Friday.

The 25-year-old begins her campaign against Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens on Tuesday (midnight on Monday in the UK).

"I'm very pleased with the level I played," said Konta of her Sydney win.

"But we all know that it's not a given. It doesn't decide how you will do in the next event.

"I'm taking it as a positive from the week itself, but I'm looking to again work hard here and really try to do the best that I can."

Sydney-born Konta reached the semi-finals at the Australian Open last year - the furthest she has ever progressed in a Grand Slam.

And despite enjoying her most successful season to date, she chose to split with coach Esteban Carril in December after two-and-a-half years together.

Konta is now working under Belgian Wim Fissette, who has previously coached former world number one Kim Clijsters and two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka.

"My previous situation came to a natural end so I was in the market. It came together nicely for us," Konta told BBC Radio 5 live.

"We're doing some great work together. I'm really enjoying learning from him. He's a coach who's been on tour for some time and has worked with some of the best players.

"I'm trying to be a sponge and trying to absorb all the information he's passing on."

Konta is a Grand Slam contender - Barker

Sue Barker, who reached the semi-finals of the women's singles at the Australian Open in 1975 and 1977, believes Johanna Konta is good enough to win this year's competition.

"Last year's Australian Open was her big breakthrough tournament," Barker told BBC Radio 5 live's Sportsweek programme.

"We had been seeing her get better and better but at the Australian Open she started to believe in herself. She has not sat back and has improved week after week.

"I watched her final against Radwanska in Sydney last week and it was the best I've seen her play. She looked incredible and doesn't have a weakness.

"She is hitting the ball so hard and she is not just a top-10 player, she is a Grand Slam contender."

Johanna Konta
Johanna Konta lost to eventual winner Angelique Kerber in the semi-finals of the 2016 Australian Open

Konta will return to ninth in the world rankings on Monday following her win in Sydney and Barker thinks Konta can beat the best players.

"Johanna is seeded ninth so has not got the protection of being in the top eight but there is not one person that's just so outstanding in the women's game," added Barker.

"Angelique Kerber is a solid world number one but she is beatable and Johanna has the game to beat her. She certainly has a chance to win it."

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