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Coco Gauff eyes ‘double digits’ grand slam career goal ahead of Australian Open

Coco Gauff may have won her maiden grand slam title at last year’s US Open, but the American youngster already has that particular success in her rear-view mirror.

Not content with just the one major title to her name, the 19-year-old says she is now focused on increasing her grand slam total to at least 10 titles.

“That could change depending on how my career goes. Right now, I would say double digits would be pretty awesome,” Gauff told reporters ahead of this year’s Australian Open.

“I don’t know if it will happen, but I think that’s a high goal. I think setting my goals high pushes me beyond what I think I can do.”

Gauff has long been earmarked as one of tennis’ next superstars after bursting onto the scene as a 15-year-old at Wimbledon almost five years ago.

She has steadily progressed and matured ever since, and eventually clinched her first grand slam title with a comeback win against Aryna Sabalenka at Flushing Meadows in September.

Gauff became the youngest American woman to win the US Open since Serena Williams in 1999, but it’s an achievement she’s keen not to dwell on.

“It was kind of easy to forget about it. Not ‘forget,’ I think that’s the wrong word, maybe just put it in the past and look forward to the future instead of dwelling on the past,” she added.

The American is one of the top contenders for the year’s Australian Open title and says preparation for the tournament hasn’t changed since becoming a grand slam champion.

The youngster is enjoying a patch of good form, having lifted her second consecutive Auckland Classic – and eighth WTA title overall – after beating Elina Svitolina on January 7.

Gauff faces Slovakian Anna Karolína Schmiedlová in the first round in Melbourne and her coach, Brad Gilbert, is confident she can deal with the pressure that comes with being a major winner.

“If you don’t get a little bit better, you fall behind and there’s new young players coming up every year,” Gilbert told CNN Sport’s Don Riddell.

“You can’t control what people say about you, but what you can control is the opponent in front of you and how you compete day in and day out.

“Those are the things that are most important that you need to focus on, not what the media is going to say you’re supposed to do or not supposed to do.”

The Australian Open will begin on January 14 and will run for 15 days until January 28.

Tournament organizers added an extra day to its schedule in a bid to reduce pressure on players and fans following a series of punishing matches in recent years that ended well into the early hours.

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