Konta can win Grand Slams

Johanna Konta

Johanna Konta has never been beyond the first round at Wimbledon

Johanna Konta can win Grand Slam titles but may have to wait for Serena Williams to retire, says former French Open champion Sue Barker.

Konta, the first British woman to play in a Grand Slam semi-final in 33 years, lost 7-5 6-2 to Germany’s Angelique Kerber at the Australian Open.

“Of course she can,” replied Barker when asked if 24-year-old Konta could win one of tennis’s four Grand Slams.

“But Serena Williams is in a different league to everyone else.”

American Williams has won 21 Grand Slam singles titles – including eight of the last 14 on offer – and will turn 35 in September.

By contrast, Konta, who was ranked 147th in January 2015, was making her first Grand Slam semi-final appearance in her match against Kerber.

Despite losing, she is set to rise from 47th in the world to inside the top 30 and would be seeded at the French Open and Wimbledon should she maintain that ranking through the summer.

Konta made 36 unforced errors to Kerber’s 11 in her straight-sets defeat but Barker believes that her rivals will be better prepared in the future.

“Konta has got all the shots – her serve is terrific, the forehand is a weapon and more reliable than it was – but now she has the mental attitude,” said BBC Sport presenter Barker.

“You saw that when she served for the match, lost her serve, but came back to beat Ekaterina Makarova 8-6 in the third set to make the quarter-finals.

“The top players are going to take note of her run.

“Their coaches are going to go out and watch her matches, find her weaknesses and where she does not move so well on the court. She has to add more variety to her game to combat that.”

Barker beat Czech Renata Tomanova at Roland Garros in 1976 to win her only Grand Slam singles title

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