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Emma Raducanu rejects ‘favourite’ tag for Australian Open but confirms she’ll play in Melbourne

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Emma Raducanu has dismissed suggestions that she will be among the favourites for the Australian Open.

The US Open champion is first aiming to gain more experience on the professional tour following her spectacular breakthrough victory in New York.

The 18-year-old is yet to decide whether she will enter the WTA event in Indian Wells next month, where she could play under her new world ranking of 22.

Raducanu could therefore be among the seeded players in Melbourne for the Australian Open in January next year, but she has rejected the notion that she will be considered a favourite despite her triumph at the US Open.

“If I’m seeded, then I’m seeded, but favourite? I think one tournament, you can’t really say I’m a favourite. I’m still so new to everything,” she said at an LTA Homecoming event.

“I just feel like I’m learning and absorbing all the knowledge that I’m gaining like a sponge and soaking it all in.

“That’s what I really want to do. I’m not focused on results, I’m focused on how much I can learn because that’s what’s really going to drive me forward.”

Raducanu has split with her coach Andrew Richardson as she looks for a mentor with more experience.

The Briton confirmed that she will do whatever it takes to play at the Australian Open despite the strict quarantine rules in the country and has also set her sights on facing a top-10 player, such as Ash Barty or Naomi Osaka, for the first time.

Raducanu progressed to the US Open final without playing an opponent ranked higher than 12 in Belinda Bencic, where she played fellow teenager Leylah Fernandez.

“I’m hungry to play anyone and I think that would be a really cool challenge,” she added.

“I like to challenge myself and obviously it’s going to be extremely difficult to beat a top-10 player or a player of that quality but I’m up for it and, even if I lose, I think it’d be a great learning [opportunity] just to compare where I’m at to where the best in the world are. So either way for me it would be a win-win.”

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