While tennis is largely an individual sport (ignoring the doubles), no great player becomes a great player nowadays without a top-class coach and back up team. For every Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray, there is a Boris Becker or an Ivan Lendl in the best seats.
Murray has no doubt advanced tennis in Britain beyond the wildest dreams of the sport’s administrators. The Scot’s Grand Slam tally doesn’t yet compare with the likes of Djokovic, Federer and Nadal but it says much about his class that he’s now ranked number one in the world and is plying his trade at a time when there are at least four and possibly five players who would have stood out at any other time in history.
Perhaps the women’s game hasn’t quite advanced at the same rate as the men’s game in the UK as there has been no British Grand Slam winner since 1977. Angela Mortimer, Christine Trueman and Ann Jones won Wimbledon in the Sixties and Virginia Wade in the Seventies after also winning the Australian and US Opens. Sue Barker and Jo Durie briefly flattered to deceive later but British tennis didn’t really have another up-and-coming talent on which they can hang their hopes until the emergence of Laura Robson and Heather Watson.
Unfortunately, illness and injury has interrupted the careers of both and they are running out of time if they want to break into the top 10 – not so Johanna Konta!
The Australian-born 25-year-old reached the semi-finals in Melbourne 12 months ago and, in her own words, has matured ‘like a fine wine’ since. She won the Sydney International, her second WTA Tour title, earlier this month without dropping a set and is a real contender in this year’s Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of 2017.
Konta is a very tempting 20/1 with a number of firms, including Betfair.
There is an exclusive free £30 bet available to new customers and this is different to most other websites whereby your free bet is a matched bet.
All you need to do is sign up here, using the code ZSK200 and place your first bet (min. £10) at odds of at least 1.2 (1/5) within 30 days of opening your account. Within 24 hours of your qualifying bet being accepted, you will be offered 3 x £/€10 free bets. Exchange bets don’t apply as qualifying bets!
You can go on the website and sign up straight from there. To get going, open an account, deposit money and then bet and play on the website. Customers must be over 18 in order to fill in the registration form, the use of Neteller, Skrill & Moneybookers eWallets are not eligible for this offer. Terms and conditions apply, please see full detail directly at Betfair.
In addition, new Betfair Sportsbook customers can get 12/1 for Andy Murray to win the Australian Open and the same odds for Novak Djokovic to win again in Melbourne. The maximum stake is £10 and all winnings are paid as free bets or stakes returned to you new account in case of a loser.
Konta still has the occasional off-day but she’s capable of beating any of the world’s top players if on-song and there will soon be a vacuum at the very top of the women’s game. Serena Williams (16/5 with Boylesports) has won the Australian Open six times but only once in the last six years. She no longer instils fear in her opponents and, now 35, is approaching the end of her career. With Maria Sharapova banned, there is the opportunity for someone to take the women’s game by the scruff of the neck and Konta is right up there with the best around at present.
Angelique Kerber is the current world number one at defending champion in Melbourne. She is a best 9/2 on Betfair but doesn’t arrive in the best of form. Karolina Pliskova is a best 9/1 on Betfair and has to go on the short-list. She lost to Kerber in the US Open final last year but has already won in Brisbane this year and it’s only a matter of time before she wins a Grand Slam.
Australian Open Women’s Singles Selected Best Odds
Serena Williams (16/5), Angelique Kerber (9/2), Karolina Pliskova (9/1), Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza (12/1), Johanna Konta (20/1), Agnieszka Radwanska and Dominika Cibulkova (28/1), Elina Svitolina and Caroline Wozniacki (40/1), Daria Kasatkina (66/1), Svetlana Kuznetsova (80/1), Venus Williams (100/1)