Bradenton teen to play in January Australian Open

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Before she was playing in Grand Slam tournaments, 16-year-old Whitney Osuigwe was playing in her grand ball gown.

"My dad was a coach, so he just put me out on the court to play and I used to play in my Cinderella clothes and I just fell in love with the game," the 16-year-old from Bradenton explained. 

This year, the former world junior no. 1 transitioned into the professional ranks after becoming the 5th American to win the French Open girls' title in 2017.

"It took a while to get my ranking to where it was at, it took the entire year," Whitney said. "I was super excited that I could win that tournament and I'm super excited to play more WTAs this year."  

Now, she's preparing for her second Grand Slam main draw appearance, at next month's Australian Open. She made her debut at this year's U.S. Open.

"My first experience at the U.S. Open, it was pretty overwhelming," said Whitney. "Now I know what I need to do and the players there, and how everything works so it'll be a lot easier going to Australia."  

Joining her in Melbourne will be Whitney's father, Desmond, who is also her coach. 

"Somebody who cares about you, can mentor you, is considered to be a coach," he said.  

"It can get hard sometimes, but he knows me better than anybody else does so I like it," added Whitney. "On the court, he's my coach, at home, he's my dad, so it works out." 

This family affair is a winning team.

The Australian Open is set to begin on January 14.