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Konta, Kiki cautiously confident ahead of AO2020

  • Matt Trollope

Johanna Konta has played just one match in four months. Kiki Bertens pulled out of this week’s Adelaide International.

But both feel content, and cautiously confident heading into the year’s first Grand Slam event.

MORE: Day 1 schedule of play

"I wouldn't say I'm worried (about being underprepared), it's just the reality of my situation,” Konta said on Friday at Melbourne Park.

“At the end of the day, the worst thing that can happen is I lose, and I go home, and I prepare, and I keep playing the season. It's not the end of the world.

“I think I'm here because I'm ready to compete and that's what I'm going to do, just the best that I can.”

Despite shutting down last season after the US Open to rehabilitate a troublesome knee, Konta takes confidence from the brilliant form that preceded that decision.

She broke through on clay to reach the Rome final and the Roland Garros semifinals, and kept her run going with quarterfinal finishes at Wimbledon and the US Open.

MORE: Barty’s quest for history

Having slumped to world No.47 in the first week of May, Konta vaulted as high as No.11 in October, before finishing the year at No.12.

And all this while dealing with that knee injury, which first flared up in January and was something she was forced to manage throughout the season.

Johanna Konta has played one match in four months

She enters AO2020 as the 12th seed, with the knowledge of a strong history of results in Australia also in her mind.

"I think (my results in 2019) shows my resilience, it does show my ability to be able to overcome difficultly and still come through,” said Konta, who reached the Australian Open semifinals in 2016 and won the Sydney International the following year.

MORE: The women's singles draw for AO2020

“It doesn't guarantee anything for this year, but I'm looking forward to just being back, and playing – it's been quite a while, about four and a half months, it's not far off a protected ranking (laughter).

“I'm looking forward to just being back.”

Kiki Bertens will face Irina-Camelia Begu in the first round

Konta’s one outing this season was a three-set loss to Barbora Strycova in the opening round of the Brisbane International.

That was the same venue where Bertens advanced to the quarterfinals in the singles – she ultimately fell to Naomi Osaka in three tough sets – and the final of the doubles alongside Ash Barty.

The Dutchwoman then withdrew from the Adelaide International with an Achilles injury.

MORE: The women's seeds for AO2020

But she shared no feelings of concern when she spoke with the media on Friday.

"I'm struggling already for a while with an Achilles problem. But I know how to deal with it,” she said.

“It was too much to play there (in Adelaide) already, it was too soon after already playing a lot of matches in Brisbane. So I just wanted to prepare as good as I could for this tournament.

"I was really happy with the level I was playing (in Brisbane), the way I was feeling also on the court. To just get a few matches in, I think is good, especially some really tough fights. Had also lots of fun with Ash in the doubles.

“I think for me it's a great start to the season.”

Kiki Bertens pulled out of this week’s Adelaide International

Bertens, seeded No.9 at the Australian Open, has landed in the bottom quarter of the draw against Irina-Camelia Begu in the first round.

She is projected to meet No.21 seed Amanda Anisimova in round three and fifth seed Elina Svitolina in the last 16.

Konta’s path is arguably even tougher; opening against Ons Jabeur, she could face Dayana Yastremska or Caroline Wozniacki in the third round, and Serena Williams in round four.

Yet less concerned with draws and more focused on simply being healthy, the two talented stars have their sights set on being ready to go from Monday.

“We're here, and I've had a good week here,” Konta said, “and I’m looking forward to getting started.”