Johanna Konta had a career year in 2016 on the #WTA Tour. Not only did she claim a title on tour, the first of her career, but she finished the season ranked 10th in the world. Furthermore, Konta enjoyed some success in the majors as she made the semifinals of the 2016 Australian Open. Given how depleted 2017's Australian Open promises to be, Konta does stand a reasonable chance of doing some damage at the event.

Many key players will miss Melbourne

When it comes to winning Grand Slams, first you have to stay healthy for them. On that note, there are several players that won't be fit to play at Melbourne Park. In the case of Madison Keys, that's because of injuries related to tennis as she announced on Friday that off-season surgery will cost her the opening month of her 2017 season.

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Keys previously had made the Australian Open semifinals and appeared poised to contend for the title in 2017.

Petra Kvitova's injury to her left hand is not a tennis injury, but one that resulted from a brutal attack in her home. All the same, she will miss the Australian Open and as a tragic as that development is, it's possible to reflect on the tennis implications still. Kvitova missing the Aussie, will make the middle-to-late rounds more accessible for someone. Furthermore, two-time Aussie champion Victoria Azarenka won't be at the Aussie as she just gave birth and will need time to get back to tennis-level fitness as well.

When you add in Maria Sharapova's suspension, it's clear that the 2017 Australian Open will be missing several key players, all of which were in the draw last season.

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If Angelique Kerber and Serena Williams were to suffer upsets, then the Melbourne Park draw could open up in a big way.

Konta is 50 to 1 to win title

Johanna Konta is currently the 10th favorite to win the Aussie with bet365, however, that sportsbook has yet to catch up with the news of Madison Keys' withdrawal. When they do, I'm sure the Brit will become the 9th favorite. Simona Halep, Garbine Muguruza, and Karolina Pliskova are players currently considered shorter favorites than Konta to win Melbourne Park. While those players are more proven than Konta, that's based on success at the other Grand Slams and not the Australian Open. Konta's single appearance in the semifinals at Melbourne Park is more than those three players have combined in their entire careers.

Konta may yet get a Top-8 seed for the 2017 Australian Open. With Keys out, all it would require is for one more higher-ranked player to withdraw before the seeds are announced next month. A top-8 seeding would guarantee that the Brit would not face anyone ranked higher than herself through the first four rounds. At 50 to 1 with Paddy Power, an each way bet (1-2, 1/2) appears to be in order with this likable longshot. #MadisonKeys #AustralianOpen