Andy Murray backs Johanna Konta to succeed in Serena Williams' absence

Abhinav Kini
Konta

World number one Andy Murray believes fellow compatriot Johanna Konta can succeed in winning Grand Slams in the absence of Serena Williams.

Konta made history last month as she became the first British woman to win the Miami Open after defeating Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-3 in what was her biggest career victory till date.

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The British number one also climbed to number seven in the world rankings and with only Karolina Pliskova and Wozniacki collecting more points in 2017, Konta now has a chance to make her mark in women's tennis.

Australian Open champion Williams is currently undergoing maternity leave after announcing her pregnancy last month and Murray thinks Konta can be seen as a contender for honours especially with the French Open and Wimbledon fast approaching.

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"I don't see why not," Murray said, as quoted on ESPN. "Right now the women's game is very open, with Serena being out for the foreseeable future, which makes it very exciting for a lot of the top women."

"No-one's sure who's going to step up in her absence and Jo obviously has a chance. Clay maybe isn't her favourite surface but, on the hard courts and the grass, there's no reason why she can't be right up there competing for the biggest tournaments and therefore the top spots in the rankings.

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"It's a big few months coming up for her."

As for Murray, his inconsistent 2017 continued last week as he crashed out of the Barcelona Open semi-final against Dominic Thiem, making it just three wins for the Briton since February. However, he feels he is close to hitting top form especially after recovering from an elbow injury.

"I was in a better place coming into the clay-court season this year than I was last year -- that's how I felt," he explained. "Physically I needed to get some matches under my belt and to get three matches in Barcelona last week was big for me."

"My body's feeling good so I'm positive about the next few weeks. I need to obviously start winning matches and I'll try and do that."

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