Melbourne, Australia, 14 January 2024 | Leigh Rogers

Taylah Preston is not feeling flustered about facing a seeded opponent in her Grand Slam main-draw debut.

The 18-year-old Aussie is a wildcard entry at Australian Open 2024 and begins her campaign tomorrow against world No.23 Elina Svitolina, a player whose poster once adorned her bedroom wall.

The 29-year-old Ukrainian is a two-time Australian Open quarterfinalist, a former world No.3 and returning to Melbourne Park for the first time since the birth of her daughter, Skai, in 2022.

“It’s tough, but I think whoever I drew it was going to be a tough match,” acknowledged Preston.

“It’s a main draw of a Grand Slam, so everyone is a really good player. But I’m super excited and looking forward to it.

“Obviously she is super experienced, but hopefully I can gain more experience from it as well.”

A former top-10 junior and a three-time winner of the Female Junior Athlete of the Year at the Australian Tennis Awards, Preston made an impressive transition to the professional ranks in 2023.

The Perth talent won four ITF singles titles and improved her ranking more than 600 places.

The world No.203 proved she can challenge the world’s best as a wildcard at last week’s Adelaide International, where she extended Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia to three sets in the opening round.

Although the world No.20 eventually triumphed 6-4 1-6 6-3, Preston believes the experience gained will prove invaluable against Svitolina.

“That match really gave me a bit of a confidence boost,” Preston said.

“I think that match really set me up well in terms of sort of seeing the level of top 20, as well as knowing that if I can play my best tennis that it can hold up against them.”

The fearless teen is hoping the crowd will also be on her side when she meets Svitolina at 1573 Arena on Monday morning.

“I think the AO is super unique in that the fans really get behind the Aussies, so I’m really looking forward to that,” she said.

“But no matter how many people are there, it’s just going to be an amazing match to play.

“My dream has always been to play in the Australian Open.”

> BUY NOW: Australian Open 2024 tickets

Find your way to play: Visit to get out on court and have some fun!