Australian Open: Gauff seeks grand slam glory to move on from 'teenage phenomenon' tag

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Coco Gauff wants to prove she is more than simply a "teenage phenomenon" as she bids to become a grand slam champion at the Australian Open.

The 18-year-old faces Katerina Siniakova in the first round in Melbourne on Monday, ranked as the seventh seed for the first major of the year.

Gauff has enjoyed a remarkable start to her career, winning the first of three WTA Tour singles titles at the age of just 15 at the 2019 Linz Open.

She reached the last 16 at Wimbledon in the same year after defeating Venus Williams in the opening round, but Gauff is hungry to make her reputation more than just an age thing as she seeks a first major.

"Starting another season as an established pro feels pretty weird. I'm still only 18, but I don't feel like the new kid anymore," she said in a BBC Sport column on Sunday.

"I feel I'm ready to leave behind the tag of 'teenage phenomenon'. Now it is time to be known as a grand slam champion.

"I feel like all the players still call me a baby, and usually I'm still one of the youngest in the draw, but I've been around for a while. My main ambition for 2023 is winning a grand slam title. That's the biggest goal.

"It is something I have chased for my whole life and I came so close last year by reaching the French Open final. If winning a major doesn't happen this year, I will continue to chase this dream."

Gauff was a 6-1 6-3 loser to Iga Swiatek in the Roland Garros final last year, with the Pole dominating the WTA as she claimed eight titles, including the French Open and US Open.

Teenager Gauff was tearful after that match in Paris but has started this season by winning the Auckland Open, becoming the sixth American player to secure three or more WTA-level titles in the last 40 years before turning 19.

Monica Seles, Jennifer Capriati, Lindsay Davenport, Venus and Serena Williams were the others to achieve that feat and Gauff hopes she can learn from previous failures to succeed in Australia this month.

The world number seven added: "I know I can win a grand slam title. Now it is about making the final step. One of my other goals was to win a WTA Tour title – I didn't do that last year – and I have already that checked off by winning in Auckland last week.

"The signs are good and hopefully this success continues throughout the season."

If successful, Gauff could become the first teenage female player to reach the final at the Australian Open since Maria Sharapova in 2007 and the first to win the title since Martina Hingis in 1999.