Johanna Konta aims to transfer form to grass in Birmingham

Johanna Konta
Johanna Konta's Roland Garros run means she has now reached the last four of three different Grand Slams
Nature Valley Classic
Venue: Edgbaston Priory Club Dates: 17-23 June
Coverage: Live text commentary on selected matches

British number one Johanna Konta says her superb clay-court form bodes well for Birmingham and Wimbledon despite limiting her practice on grass.

Konta withdrew from last week's Nottingham event to ease her schedule after making the French Open last four.

"You can only take good things from match fitness, confidence in decision-making and knowing you can come through different situations," she said.

"I haven't spent as much time on grass, but that's a good problem to have."

Konta, 28, will play Estonia's Anett Kontaveit, ranked two placed below her at 20th in the world, in the first round.

Konta had an indifferent start to the year, but turned her season qround after playing a key part in Great Britain's return to the Fed Cup World Group II, beating Kazakhstan's Zarina Diyas and Yulia Putintseva in front of a raucous crowd in London's Copper Box Arena.

Since then, she has reached finals in Rabat and Rome before a run to the semi-finals at Roland Garros.

Ranked 47th in the world before the clay-court swing, she is now up to 18th.

However, Konta has never been beyond the second round in Birmingham, losing to eventual champion Petra Kvitova in the first round last year.

"I've played Nottingham every year so it's a different situation, it's a different dynamic," Konta said of this year's campaign.

"Last year I lost to Petra, the year before Coco Vandeweghe, so I've played some very capable players, especially on this surface.

"There's no reason why this year I can't do better. It might not happen but I'll be working towards hopefully making it happen."

Konta reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon in 2017, but has fallen before the third round in her other six appearances at the All England Club.

World's top three and a five-time SW19 winner

Naomi Osaka
Top seed Naomi Osaka has lost in the second round on her past two visits to Birmingham

The top three-ranked players in the world are in the draw for the first time in Birmingham with US and Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka joined by world number two Ashleigh Barty, fresh from winning the French Open, and third-ranked Czech Karolina Pliskova.

Barty could overtake Osaka to take top spot for the first time in her career. The Australian would need to make the final at least, however, with her task increasing to lifting the trophy should Osaka win her opening match.

Before entertaining thoughts of world number one status, though, 23-year-old Barty faces a testing opening match against Croatia's Donna Vekic, who reached the final of the Nottingham event.

Osaka faces Greece's Maria Sakkari and Pliskova takes on Romania's Mihaela Buzarnescu, while five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams - making her Birmingham debut at the age of 38 - plays Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

American Williams will also play doubles with Britain's Harriet Dart who, along with compatriot Heather Watson, has been given a wildcard into the singles draw.

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