Andy Murray and Johanna Konta lead the British charge at the Australian Open
Seven Brits head into Australian Open with hope...
Last Updated: 13/01/17 10:40am
The first Grand Slam of the year begins in Melbourne on Monday and there are seven British singles players hoping to make their mark.
Andy Murray will bid for a first title after losing five times in the final while last year's semi-finalist Johanna Konta can also have high hopes of achieving great things again.
Here, we look at the British contenders, who are all in with a chance of making real progress Down Under.
Newly knighted and sitting on top of the world, is this finally the year Murray finally gets his hands on the trophy at Melbourne Park?
Beaten by Novak Djokovic in the final for the last two years, the Scot had looked a clear favourite this time prior to losing to his rejuvenated rival again in the final of the Qatar Open last weekend.
But Murray is playing the best tennis of his life and has every reason to feel confident.
He opens his campaign against Illya Marchenko, ranked 93rd in the world.
Edmund has surprised even winter training partner Murray with his progress up the rankings. The 22-year-old Yorkshireman broke into the top 50 last season, beating four top-20 players and reaching the fourth round of the US Open.
Edmund, ranked 45, possesses one of the biggest forehands in the game and his mature, calm temperament is another major plus.
He takes on 29-year-old Colombian Santiago Giraldo, ranked 90th in the world, in the first round.
The former bad boy of British tennis is a reformed character, finally matching talent with dedication and reaping the rewards as proven with a superb run at the Sydney International this week.
Evans climbed from 183 in the rankings at the start of 2016 to a high of 53 in September, reaching the third round at both Wimbledon and the US Open, where he held match-point against eventual champion Stan Wawrinka.
Standing only 5ft 9in, his stature is a hindrance but the Birmingham-born player is a good natural athlete and an excellent shot-maker.
He will take on Argentine world No 55 Facundo Bagnis in the opening round of the tournament.
The Slovenian-turned-Brit had a rough second half to 2016 and has slipped outside the top 100. But he made a promising start to the new season by reaching the quarter-finals of the Chennai Open and will hope that is a sign of better things to come.
A slight figure, Bedene has no major weapons but is very good technically, moves well and is a gritty competitor.
He has been paired with 36-year-old world No 103 Victor Estrella Burgos from the Dominican Republic.
Twelve months ago, Konta produced her stunning run to the last four in Melbourne and then built on it through a spectacular season.
She won her first WTA Tour title in Stanford, climbed into the top 10 and very nearly qualified for the WTA Finals, featuring the best eight players in the world.
Konta has picked up where she left off at the start of 2017 and goes into the Australian Open as a genuine title contender after winning the Apia International in Sydney.
Konta, seeded ninth, has been handed a tricky opening tie against Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens, who who should be well known to Konta’s new Belgian coach Wim Fissette.
Watson won her third WTA Tour title in Monterrey last February but has struggled for consistency throughout her career, with too many early defeats.
She has only been beyond the first round once on six previous visits to Melbourne, making the third round in 2013.
The 24-year-old, ranked 75, is a fine athlete and has worked hard to make her game more aggressive under new coach John-Laffnie de Jager.
She plays the experienced Australian Sam Stosur in a tough opening round clash.
The Stockport slugger has worked outside the Lawn Tennis Association programme since a teenage indiscretion and her rise into the top 100 last season was testament to the 26-year-old's hard work and attitude.
Ranked 95, Broady makes the most of her 6ft 2in with a powerful serve and forehand.
She goes up against 22-year-old Australian Daria Gavrilova - ranked 25th in the world.
Check our game-by-game updates from Andy Murray's matches at the 2017 Australian Open by following our blog on skysports.com/tennis, our app for mobile devices and iPad or our Twitter account @skysportstennis.
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