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Johanna Konta eyes strong displays 'at home' in Australia

A new coach and some familiar faces will help Johanna Konta in her quest for a maiden grand slam at what she says feels like home.

The Sydney-born world No. 9, who moved to the UK shortly before turning 14, won the Sydney International without dropping a set on her way to a career-best world No. 4 earlier in 2017, and semifinal and quarterfinal appearances at the past two Australian Opens have proved her fondness for her country of birth.

Johanna Konta at the Toray Pan Pacific Open. Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images
The Brisbane International will launch the 26-year-old's summer, with Konta preparing to play for the first time under Maria Sharapova's former coach Michael Joyce.

"I'm half-and-half now in where I've lived my life. It makes me feel very much at home when I come back," Konta said.

"The UK's my home but Australia will always have a special place in my heart."

Konta will have an early New Year's Eve celebration in Brisbane with her sister on Sunday before turning her focus to a tournament that features Garbine Muguruza, Petra Kvitova, Ashleigh Barty, Samantha Stosur and Karolina Pliskova.

"I finished my season quite early but it's a great place to jump into the deep end of things," she said.

Konta will look to defend her Sydney title in early January, taking confidence from a breakthrough Miami Open crown earlier this year.

She continued: "It was a step in a positive direction for me and two [grand slam] semis -- in Melbourne and Wimbledon -- gives me confidence that I can compete day in and day out on a regular basis."


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