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French Open 2017: Johanna Konta a real contender despite clay conundrum

The surface may not be ideal for the world No 8 but Konta’s determination to adapt to its challenges, and uncertainty in the women’s locker room, boosts her chances at Roland Garros

Nerves can suffocate or liberate and few have embraced both ends of that neurological spectrum as dramatically as Johanna Konta. The days when she was so gripped by anxiety that she smothered her talent near to the point of disintegration are so distant it is hard to believe it is the same person who now strides into the locker room at Roland Garros as a respected contender.

This is her second slam as a top?10 player, although it is on her least favourite surface. Nevertheless, in the absence of Serena Williams, no wildcard for Maria Sharapova and with the interim world No1, Angelique Kerber, still prone to the jitters, Konta has mainly herself and the clay underfoot to worry about.

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