Australian Open: Johanna Konta praises support from her family and friends

Australian Open 2017
Venue: Melbourne Park, Melbourne. Dates: 16-29 Jan
Coverage: Daily live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra; live text on selected matches on the BBC Sport website; TV highlights on BBC Two and online from 21 January.

Great Britain's Johanna Konta says her family and coaches were crucial to her progress after the Lawn Tennis Association cut her funding in 2015.

Konta, 25, has reached the last 16 of the Australian Open, after playing in the semi-finals in Melbourne last year.

In 2015, the LTA reduced Konta's funding, as part of wider cuts in support for emerging players, which saw Konta relocate her training to Spain.

"That period of time was very difficult," said the world number nine.

"When the organisation decided to stop funding me it wasn't in my benefit. It's not a cheap sport and whether through a federation, a private sponsor or a family, no-one gets there without help.

"I don't believe tough love is the answer and I was very fortunate to have very good people around me.

"My family, my support system, also my coaches at the time did a tremendous job in pulling together and making sure our focus remained on the work and not on external situations out of our control."

Sydney-born Konta has previously said she was grateful for the support the LTA has offered since she became a British citizen in 2012.

Konta
Konta only needed one hour 15 minutes to beat 17th seed Caroline Wozniacki

Konta plays 30th seed Ekaterina Makarova of Russia in the last 16 in Australia after a convincing 6-3 6-1 win over Danish former world number one Caroline Wozniacki.

"I was very happy with the way I was able to assert myself from the beginning and maintain my level to the end," said Konta.

"Against someone like Caroline, she's not going to give it to you - you really have to earn it."

Konta beat Makarova 4-6 6-4 8-6 in last year's Australian Open and the winner of their match on Monday could face six-time winner Serena Williams in the quarter-finals.

On Makarova, Konta added: "Every time we play, we have a battle. That match last year was a high-level match from both of us. She always seems to do well on these courts and I'm looking forward to it."

Johanna Konta's rise up the world rankings
TimeRankingTimeRanking
NowNinthEnd of 201610th
End of 201547thEnd of 2014150th
End of 2013112thEnd of 2012153rd
End of 2011305thEnd of 2010248th
End of 2009360thEnd of 2008668th

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