Tennis

Konta: Do NOT rule Serena out

Cape Town – Johanna Konta says no-one should rule out Serena Williams successfully defending her Australian Open crown next month.

Williams is expected to return to the court in Melbourne for the first time since giving birth to a baby girl in September.

The 36-year-old was eight weeks pregnant for last year's Australian open, yet still prevailed to win her 23rd Grand Slam title.

And despite being out of competitive action for a year, Konta – who was Williams' victim in the quarter-finals – believes she will still be the player to beat.

"You don't put anything past Serena," said Konta.

"If anyone can come back so soon after giving birth, it's probably going to be her.

"I think regardless of how many matches she's had previously or how much tennis she's played, she's always Serena and the player or the athlete she is, she brings a lot of that to the table regardless.

"That was the only time I played her and I knew going into the match that she was preparing for it very seriously. At the time I was one of the most in-form players of that period.

"She is a very imposing player with the way she presents herself on court and the attitude she plays with. She doesn't let you get yourself comfortable on court."

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