MELBOURNE -- Alycia Parks was all smiles after winning her Australian Open main-draw debut on Sunday. The 23-year-old from Atlanta, Georgia kept her cool to come from a set down to defeat Ukraine's Daria Snigur 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the first round.

After the win Parks admitted her preternaturally cool demeanor betrayed what was really swirling on inside her head.  

"Before the match, my heart was racing because it's my first Australian Open Slam main draw," Parks told WTA Insider. "The first set, I was kind of struggling a little bit. Usually it takes me the first set to see what I need to do the second set. So then I just remembered what my coach said and tried to execute. 

"In the third set I was like, Okay, I need to step on the gas and not let up."

Stepping on the gas and not letting up is the overall game plan for Parks in 2024. Last year, the big-serving American hit a career-high No.40 and won her first Hologic WTA Tour title in Lyon. She finished the year at No.47, but with a slew of ITF points set to drop in November, Parks tried to convince her coach to let her keep playing to defend the points.

"I was pushing to play and he was like, 'No, you really need a pre-season because your game is strong enough where you can get points anywhere.' So then I just trusted that and started from scratch."

Rewind: Guided by faith, Parks plots her 2023 breakthrough

As she starts her 2024 season, Parks is fighting her ingrained instinct to chase points. After a season of non-stop play, Parks is set to play a more disciplined schedule this year. She believes her game is big enough to be a consistent threat on tour, and based on Sunday's display, which saw Parks fire 39 winners, including 10 aces, the Melbourne crowd are believers too. The packed fans on Court 3 may not have known much about Parks when the match began, but her power and swagger quickly made her a crowd favorite. 

"So I know this year, at certain tournaments, not to play a tournament before that Slam," Parks said. "And not play as many tournaments, actually take time to train and then go back out there, because my game is big enough, where I can get points."

With this new mindset, Parks comes into the year having worked through the toughest pre-season of her career. She has already proven she can win tournaments. But to be consistent, which is Parks' 2024 goal, she needs to be physically and mentally sharp.

The work has already paid off.

"Even when I was in the third set, I was like, Okay, all the stuff that you've done in pre-season is about to kick in," Parks said. "That was in the back of my head. You can actually win this match. So I think pre-season actually helped me in this match."

Parks has lofty goals for 2024. She says she's ready to break into the Top 10 and win her first Grand Slam. In Melbourne, her goal is to make the second week of a major for the first time. To do that, she'll have to get past 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez in the second round. Win that, and she may have go through US Open champion Coco Gauff in the third round. 

"I'm just going to focus on myself," Parks said when asked about her upcoming showdown against the Canadian lefty. "I'm not really worried about my opponents. I can only control myself. I'm just going to work on what I did wrong today and then execute the good that I did today and just go into the match fresh."

Parks will have two days of rest before the second round. In the meantime, she'll soak in the Melbourne vibes.

"Australian Open is actually my favorite Slam," She said. "It's laid back, but there's stuff to do here. The food is different. The crowd is always rowdy, kind of like U.S. Open, and I like that. Today they helped me a lot throughout the match.