Emma Raducanu has said that she will do "whatever it takes" to play at the 2022 Australian Open but downplayed early talk of her being the favourite in Melbourne.
The US Open champion is prepared to miss Christmas, as might be required of players due to strict quarantine restrictions for most overseas travellers to Victoria.
Yet even after a stunning triumph in New York at just her second Grand Slam, the 18-year-old does not believe she should be considered a favourite for the tournament.
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"Whatever needs to be done to be able to play the Australian Open, I'll do," Raducanu confirmed at a homecoming event hosted at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton.
"To me, it is not even a thought or a battle in mind - I just want to be at the Australian Open and I want to compete there. What it takes to do, I'll go.
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"If I'm seeded, then I'm seeded, but favourite? You can't really say I'm a favourite. I'm still so new to everything.
“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.”
Organisers of the event have not yet confirmed what will be required of players for the 2022 edition of the tennis' first Grand Slam of the year.
Melbourne has been facing anti-lockdown protests even after the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, announced "a modest easing" of measures to fight the coronavirus last week.
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Last year's Australian Open was delayed by three weeks with all players forced to serve a 14-day quarantine and qualifying events held in Doha, Qatar and Emirati city Dubai.
Parts of the event were also held without spectators amid a snap five-day lockdown in Melbourne.
Regardless of restrictions, Raducanu is eager to test herself against some of the world's best in what will be her first appearance at the event.
"I'm hungry to play anyone and I think that would be a really cool challenge," said the Bromley-based star.
“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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