Raducanu under more pressure than me, says Gauff

MELBOURNE, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Coco Gauff burst onto the scene as a 15-year-old and was quickly touted as the "next big thing" but the American said on Monday the pressure she faced paled in comparison to that heaped on the shoulders of British standard-bearer Emma Raducanu.

Seventh seed Gauff will meet former U.S. Open champion Raducanu for the first time in the second round of the Australian Open after both won their opening matches in straight sets at Melbourne Park.

Raducanu was the first Briton in 45 years to win a Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows in 2021 but she is unseeded in Melbourne after falling down the rankings during an injury-ravaged season last year.

"Obviously she's gone through a lot of pressure, bursting onto the scene. I feel like probably more than I have experienced coming to win a Slam," Gauff told reporters after her 6-1 6-4 win over Katerina Siniakova.

"Especially being from the U.K., the first British person to do something in a long time, probably is a lot more pressure than what I'm used to being an American.

"Obviously I was a lot younger when I got the attention, so I definitely think handling it at an older age is a little bit easier than at 15. But also, at the same time, I didn't win a Slam."

Gauff, whose best Grand Slam result is runner-up at the French Open last year, said Serena Williams was the player her compatriots looked to before the 23-times major winner retired.

Now, Jessica Pegula, Madison Keys and Shelby Rogers were there to share the spotlight with her, said Gauff.

"There's always, for American fans, someone to look to. Whereas I feel like (for) the British it's just her. There's other British players, but no one has done what she's done and gotten that far in a Slam."

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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