Coco Gauff is a true thrill-seeker, and she'll do whatever it takes to satisfy her craving for excitement.

After her last practice of the year ahead of the ASB Classic, where she is the top seed and defending champion, Gauff took her family up to the top of the Sky Tower in Auckland, strapped them all in and jumped right off. 

As thrilling as her bungee jump was, it could not hold a candle to the infusion of adrenaline Gauff felt on the final point of the US Open final three months ago. 

"You can only feel that accomplishing some kind of dream," Gauff told WTA Insider from Auckland. "I want to keep feeling that as much as possible. It felt like a drug.

"I told my team I could understand how people get addicted to certain things because if that was a drug, I definitely would be chasing that feeling. So I definitely want to feel that feeling as many times as I possibly can so I'm doing everything I can to replicate it."

On Tuesday, Gauff kicked off her 2024 campaign with a win, defeating Claire Liu 6-4, 6-2 in the first round of Auckland. Gauff broke serve five times while winning 72 percent behind her own first serve and 53 percent behind her second.

Gauff will face 16-year-old Brenda Fruhvirtova in the second round. The Czech teenager pulled off a trifecta of milestones in the first round by defeating No.48 Anna Blinkova 7-5, 6-4. The win was Fruhvirtova's first Hologic WTA Tour main-draw win, first Top 100 win and first Top 50 win. 

Gauff's 82-minute match was the perfect way to ease into her first season as a reigning major champion. That can be a heavy burden for many players as they begin their follow-up year. 

That might have been the case for Gauff had her career goals revolved around winning a Grand Slam. But for Gauff, New York was just a stepping stone.

"Ever since I was a kid I always had big goals for my career," Gauff said. "Winning a Slam gave me reassurance that I could reach those goals.

"I don't think my motivation has stopped in any way. I probably feel even more motivated because the feeling I had at match point was a crazy feeling."

After splitting with coach Pere Riba after the China Open last year, Gauff will be joined by Brad Gilbert for the Australian Open. When asked what she's most looking forward to at the start of the year, Gauff sounded like a teenager jonesing for the first day of school.

"Honestly, the thing I was looking most towards was seeing my friends on tour," she said. "I saw Jess in the offseason. I saw Chris [Eubanks] a bit since he came to Florida to practice. I haven't seen Ben [Shelton] since the US Open. I'm excited. We're going to do an escape room. 

"Obviously the tennis part is exciting too. My first Slam as a Slam champion is going to be really exciting."

Despite her tough preseason in Florida, Gauff is feeling remarkably fresh. She credits the decision to play just two tournaments after the US Open last year for the extra bounce in her step.

"Preseasons are unique because you're really not playing any girls until the end," Gauff said. "So it's tough to gauge your performance when you're playing with a bunch of guys. But for the most part, being a Grand Slam champion didn't change the way that I trained.

"I'm still training just as hard as when I was chasing my first Grand Slam. Now I'm chasing my second one."