Johanna Konta ready for Grand Slam honours

Johanna Konta's ascent to the upper echelons of women's tennis was exactly what the British game needed - the next step is to win a Grand Slam title.

Johanna Konta's ascent to the upper echelons of women's tennis was exactly what the British game needed.

Neither Laura Robson nor Heather Watson have really fulfilled the potential they showed earlier in their careers and there was a sense that the game in Britain was stagnating.

Konta has changed all that by showing what can be achieved with hard work, determination and more than a little skill.

The next step is to win a Grand Slam title and there is every reason to suggest that she has the ability to do so.

Johanna Konta in action in round one of the US Open on August 28, 2017© SilverHub
At 26, she should be coming into her prime and, with Serena Williams still winning major titles in her mid-30s, it would appear as though Konta still has many years left to achieve her aims, fitness permitting.

Having risen rapidly up the rankings, the Australian-born ace became the first British player to reach a Grand Slam semi-final in 32 years when she made the last four at the 2016 Australian Open.

The unseeded star lost out in straight sets to eventual winner Angelique Kerber before failing to shine at both the French Open and Wimbledon later in that year.

However, the Eastbourne resident did win her first WTA event in Stanford and reached another final in China to prove that she can go all the way in tournaments.

A quarter-final showing Down Under early in 2017 showed her liking for the Melbourne Park courts after she had taken care of Agnieszka Radwanska to win the Sydney International.

However, it was her 6-4 6-3 triumph over former world number one Caroline Wozniacki in the final of the prestigious Miami Open in April this year that got people thinking that she might be a future Grand Slam champion.

Andy Murray has proved just how important home advantage can be, with two stunning Wimbledon titles on his CV, and it is at the All England Club that Konta may well have her best chance of winning one of the big four events.

Caroline Garcia in action against Alize Cornet at the French Open on June 5, 2017© SilverHub
Having downed the likes of Caroline Garcia and Simona Halep en route to the SW19 semi-finals this summer, Konta ran into an inspired Venus Williams, who rolled back the years to end the home hope's chances.

She has the ability to mix it with the best and, while Robson and Watson have both sporadically taken some notable scalps over the years, there is a sense that Konta feels she belongs at that level and her success is not just a flash in the pan.

The key is to learn how to fight back from adversity, and there is no doubt that the world number seven is currently in a slump after her disappointing first-round exit to Aleksandra Krunic at the US Open.

She has lost three straight matches to opponents who would not normally cause too many problems and there is a danger that her season may well peter out, with confidence clearly a problem.

Yet there is still the end-of-season WTA Finals to think about and, if she could qualify for the Singapore showpiece and put on a strong performance, it would give her a shot in the arm for the new season.

Whether or not 2018 will see Britain's first Grand Slam champion in the women's game since 1977 only time will tell, but Konta has everything in place to do so - all she has to do is believe.

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