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My loyalties lie with Great Britain says Johanna Konta
Konta may have received plenty of support from the locals in the country she grew up in, but insists her heart very much lies with Great Britain
Sydney-born Konta, who moved to Great Britain at the age of 14, dispatched Venus Williams in straight sets to reach the second round of the Australian Open.

The British No.1 was cheered to the biggest victory of her career on Rod Laver Arena, and, when asked playfully if she could be convinced to come back, replied: "No. Unfortunately, my home is Great Britain.

"It has been for a long time now, over a decade. That's where my heart is."

Another Australian journalist asked if Konta was "the one that got away".

"I feel as if that's one of those boyfriend talks," Konta quipped. "Australian tennis is doing quite well, to be honest. You have a number of very good players. But it's a compliment that you guys would say that, so thank you. But, yeah, be grateful for what you guys have as well."

Konta used to come to Melbourne Park to play Under-12 nationals on the outside courts, and though she practised on Rod Laver Arena she had never had a match there.

She certainly showed no signs of nerves against eighth seed and seven-time Grand Slam champion Williams, 35, and feels that growing up in the conditions definitely had its advantages.

"I'm very lucky that I got to spend a lot of my young years here, because I got obviously exposed to the heat out here," said Konta.

"My sister still lives here, so obviously I still have a family connection here. Australia is a beautiful country to have once called home and to always come visit. Yeah, it's special to me in that way."

She added: "I definitely felt a lot more support than I was anticipating. Obviously she has a huge fan base just because it's Venus Williams.

"But, no, I was very pleasantly surprised with the amount of support I got out there."

Konta moved up more than 100 places in the world rankings from No.150 to 48 and made the last 16 of the US Open in 2015, and this victory, in what was her first Australian Open, suggested that form was no flash in the pan.

It could have all been so different, with Konta admitting to ESPN before the tournament that she had considered quitting tennis before going on that sparkling run last year.

Now the world No.47, she is 4-2 against top-10 players and the only British woman left in the singles draw after Heather Watson lost on Monday.

"It would be silly to look at Venus' age and somehow consider that as a reflection of her level," added Konta. It's irrelevant how old she is because she's such a champion with so much experience and so much knowledge about the game.

"Even if she's playing with one leg out there, you've got to really take care of things on your own, because she's an incredible player. I have all the respect for her in the world. I was just very, really enjoying my time out there."

- espn.co.uk
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