World No.7 Johanna Konta loves being a role model and an ambassador for women's tennis.

MADRID, Spain - WTA World No.7 Johanna Konta says she enjoys being a sporting role model with a bigger media profile – and is relishing the chance to promote tennis to new audiences.

Prior to the start of the Mutua Madrid Open, the British No.1 was asked how she is coping with the increased media attention that has come along with her recent rankings rise.

“It’s something that was coming along with the opportunities I got to have,” she replied. “I’m promoting tennis back home – that’s a great platform to have. 

“My enjoyment comes from me playing, me competing, just working – things haven’t changed too much for me.

“The best that each of us can do is promote the sport in a positive way.”

Johanna Konta plays a shot against Anastasija Sevastova (Getty Images)
Konta plays a shot against Anastasija Sevastova (Getty)

“She’s such a dominant force in our sport but also in general,” Konta said. “She’s such a great ambassador for female athletes - in that sense she is missed.”

On the court, however, the 25-year-old is hopeful that Williams’s absence will mean that more players will step up and win the top titles.

“We are in a fortunate position where there is quite a bit of depth,” she said. “It’s an exciting time for women’s tennis.”

Konta has been drawn against Porsche Tennis Grand Prix champion Laura Siegemund in the first round in Madrid and admits it will be a tough task for her.

“It’s a very difficult match,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to the challenge – I think it’s a great opportunity for me to play someone who’s playing well on the surface and to really improve my game as well.”