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Konta ready to step into Serena shoes

 

By Eleanor Crooks

Johanna Konta has pledged to try to take advantage of Serena Williams' absence from the tour by competing strongly for grand slam titles.

Williams will miss the rest of the season after announcing on Wednesday she is 20 weeks pregnant, but is planning to return to tennis in 2018.

The 35-year-old has not played since winning the Australian Open in January in the early stages of her pregnancy but will return to the world number one spot on Monday.

The inconsistency of the other top women has left a void at the top of the game, and Konta is one of the prime candidates to fill it. Only Karolina Pliskova and Caroline Wozniacki have accumulated more ranking points in 2017 so far.

And, after trying to help Great Britain into World Group II of the Fed Cup against Romania this weekend, Konta will attempt to build on her victory at the Miami Open earlier this month.

Commenting on Williams' pregnancy, Konta said: "I'm actually really happy. I think that's such great news. She really is having quite a full year, isn't she? Massive congrats to her.

"The depth in women's tennis speaks for itself. We've had multiple other grand slam champions alongside Serena Williams in the past couple of years.

"She has been very dominant. But there will be a lot of girls who will be competing very hard for those titles. I will try to be one of them."

Williams, who became engaged to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian in December, posted a picture on Snapchat showing off her baby bump only to hastily delete it. But her publicist confirmed the news on Wednesday evening, with the baby due in the autumn.

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