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Johanna Konta eyes strong displays 'at home' in Australia

Johanna Konta at the Toray Pan Pacific Open. Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images

A new coach and some familiar faces will help Johanna Konta in her quest for a maiden grand slam at what she says feels like home.

The Sydney-born world No. 9, who moved to the UK shortly before turning 14, won the Sydney International without dropping a set on her way to a career-best world No. 4 earlier in 2017, and semifinal and quarterfinal appearances at the past two Australian Opens have proved her fondness for her country of birth.

The Brisbane International will launch the 26-year-old's summer, with Konta preparing to play for the first time under Maria Sharapova's former coach Michael Joyce.

"I'm half-and-half now in where I've lived my life. It makes me feel very much at home when I come back," Konta said.

"The UK's my home but Australia will always have a special place in my heart."

Konta will have an early New Year's Eve celebration in Brisbane with her sister on Sunday before turning her focus to a tournament that features Garbine Muguruza, Petra Kvitova, Ashleigh Barty, Samantha Stosur and Karolina Pliskova.

"I finished my season quite early but it's a great place to jump into the deep end of things," she said.

Konta will look to defend her Sydney title in early January, taking confidence from a breakthrough Miami Open crown earlier this year.

She continued: "It was a step in a positive direction for me and two [grand slam] semis -- in Melbourne and Wimbledon -- gives me confidence that I can compete day in and day out on a regular basis."