Johanna Konta, the new British number number one, had an incredible run at the 2016 Australian Open. Having been the first British woman to reach the semi final of a Grand Slam since the 1970's, Konta pulled out of Great Britain’s Fed Cup ties due to a stomach issue that had been bothering her throughout the Australian Open. Once recovered from this, the Brit is likely to be back on the court to improve her current new high ranking of number 28 in the world.
Konta played full of confidence in Melbourne, from the very first round where she dismissed Venus Williams in straight sets, much to the surprise of the majority of everyone watching. The Brit spurred on and went through to the semi final after defeating other top opponents on the way, and in the quarter final, she faced Zhang Shuai, a qualifier who had also had a great run to reach that point in the tournament. In the end, the Brit prevailed in what had been deemed the "Battle of the Underdogs" to make her first major semi final.
Moving on from Australia, the Brit has very little to defend from last year, as Konta had a poor start to the year in 2015 (going out in the qualifying rounds of the Australian Open, there followed more disappointing results for the Brit) could see her seeded at the next slam - Roland Garros and the possibility is rife that Konta could be seeded at Wimbledon. Konta herself, plays down the brilliant run, saying that everyone can have good runs and bad runs of form. The Brit will be working hard to continue where she left off in Melbourne.
If Konta can keep performing as she did in Melbourne, with the new found calmness she shows on court - which could be due to the sports psychologist who has been working with her, to help attempt keep the nerves at bay - and unique serving style, she is certainly capable of rising even further in the rankings. This year will prove to be a pivotal one for the Brit as she attempts to show she was not a one trick pony building on the results she posted at the first major event of the year.
The biggest test for Konta will be a match up against higher ranking top 10 players, for example the win against Venus was great, and Konta did take Angelique Kerber close in the first set of the semi final. Kerber, the seventh seed, went on to defeat world number one Serena Williams just days later. It is these kinds of matches Konta needs to play and win to show the world that she is indeed the real deal, although yours truly strongly believes that she is there already. It will be up to the 24-year-old to prove that she is a genuine contender for some of the biggest titles in women’s professional tennis.