MICHAEL JOYCE says he has no doubt Johanna Konta is capable of winning a grand slam as the coach looks to get his new partnership off to a winning start,
American Joyce linked up with the British number one during the off season following her split from Wim Fissette.
The Australian Open will be their first grand slam tournament together, with Konta among a number of players considered in the frame for the title.
Reigning champion Serena Williams is missing her fourth slam in a row and Joyce sees no reason why Konta cannot be the one to step out of the pack.
He said: ‘Women’s tennis has changed a lot in the last 10 years. I feel the top 10 maybe aren’t as good as the top 10 was 10 years ago.
‘When I was with Maria (Sharapova), you had Serena and Venus, (Lindsay) Davenport and (Kim) Clijsters and (Justine) Henin. But I feel girls that are ranked 40, 50 are a lot better now.
‘Jo has proven she belongs in the top 10. She’s had some great results, winning Miami, and she’s been close at some of the grand slams. I have no doubt that – her game and where she is – she can win a grand slam.’
Konta goes into the year’s first slam as Britain’s main hope following the withdrawal of Andy Murray.
And she can look back on huge success in Melbourne the last two years, with a dream run to the semi-finals in 2016 followed by a quarter-final appearance 12 months ago.
The 26-year-old will begin her campaign against American Madison Brengle on Sunday.