Ahead of the 2016 French Open this summer, British tennis’ two biggest hopes are a contrasting pair.
Two-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray is among the game’s real heavyweights, while Johanna Konta has burst onto the scene – and into the WTA top 25 – during the early part of the year.
So, what kind of form are both players in as we head towards the French Open?
Andy Murray – World number two
The 28-year-old has struggled to rediscover his finest form since an impressive run in January’s Australian Open ended in a comprehensive defeat to top-ranked Novak Djokovic.
A shock defeat to world number 34 Federico Delbonis at Indian Wells was followed by another third-round defeat in Miami, at the hands of fiery Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov.
Things improved for Murray in Monte-Carlo when he reached the semi-finals thumping world number 10 Milos Raonic 6-2, 6-0 in straight sets along the way.
And he’s been back on clay this week, hammering Czech veteran Radek Stepanek at the Madrid Open, to reach the third round.
That performance continued the Scot’s good recent record on clay, which stands him in good stead when he returns to the surface in Paris.
With that in mind, the smart money may be on Murray to add the French Open to his trophy haul this time around, at 9/1.
Johanna Konta – World number 22
After an unspectacular start to her career, 24-year-old Konta has greatly improved in the last 12 months, racking up a Grand Slam semi-final and a defeat of a former world number one in the process.
Last year’s US Open was the first sign of the Eastbourne-based player truly hitting her stride, with victory over highly-rated Spaniard Garbine Muguruza achieved en-route to a fourth-round finish.
That was topped by a sensational victory over Venus Williams on hard court at the Australian Open earlier this year, as Konta notched her first ever semi-final appearance at a major tournament.
A quarter-final berth in Miami followed, though Victoria Azarenka eased past the rising British star.
There’s no doubt that Konta is growing as a player, and the fact she now boasts five career wins over top-10 ranked players is testament to that.
While there’s still no arguing that the Sydney-born hopeful is an outsider to win this tournament, at 66/1 Konta could certainly give anyone who backs her a good run for their money.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.