Johanna Konta hoping new coach Michael Joyce can take her to the next level

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Johanna Konta believes her new coach Michael Joyce can help restore her mental toughness and steer her closer to winning a first grand slam.

Joyce, best known for coaching Maria Sharapova, began working with Konta in November before the American was confirmed officially as Wim Fissette’s successor last week.

Konta split with Fissette after a miserable end to the season, which included four consecutive defeats, despite an excellent year more generally as the Briton climbed to world number four and reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon.

A foot injury, which she says has now healed, combined with mounting off-court commitments had caused Konta to feel burned out and she admits part of Joyce’s remit is to provide a clearer sense of purpose.

“I think I definitely lost my way a bit with that in the second half of the season,” Konta told Press Association Sport. “I think I’m at my strongest when I’m clear on the direction I want to go in and the improvement I want to see happening.

“I like to think with each step I take and experience I go through I become better equipped to play for major titles. Working with Michael is a step in that direction.

“He fits well into what I need and I’m looking forward to building a long-lasting working relationship with him. He definitely has a lot of things I can bring to my game.”

2017 Wuhan Open - Day 2

Konta now has her eye on Sunday’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony after the world number nine was included on the 12-person shortlist.

She has also continued her love of baking in recent weeks away from the tour and tweeted a completed application to next year’s The Great British Bake Off competition on Channel 4.

“That did happen, it was real. I don’t joke about baking!” Konta said. “I haven’t heard back although I think it would be difficult to schedule with my commitments if I did make it through.

“But if they would have me I’d definitely love to do it. Just – no offence to the Bake Off – but I would rather win a slam, although the prestige is probably similar for both.”

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Maria Sharapova
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