The Return of a Champion: Sam Stosur Is Back At US Open – Site of Her First Grand Slam

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Samantha Stosur has had a long and successful career in the sport of professional tennis. Anyone who knows the story of Stosur will easily point out that the 2011 US Open was without a doubt her most successful and career defining moment. Stosur ousted the best player in the world, Serena Williams in the final at Flushing Meadow to shock the world and collect her first, and only Grand Slam tournament title.

Since 2011, Stosur’s career has taken a path filled with rolling hills. She’s experienced ups and downs, let-downs and up-lifting moments. With a new coach and a recent win at the Southern California Open in Carlsbad, Stosur hits the hard courts in New York filled with momentum, aimed at proving to the world that she is in fact a major champion and not just a one time Grand Slam winner. While the pressure may be greater, and expectations higher, as a player who has won the event before, Stosur looks at the US Open as something “she’s won once and can win again.” With her recent momentum and change in staff, it will be interesting to see the progression of Stosur’s career, beginning with the last Grand Slam tournament of 2013.

Stosur recently paid us a visit at Oakley Headquarters en-route to New York and we caught up about her thoughts leading into this pressure packed US Open. Hear from Sam in her own words below:

Oakley: Welcome to California! The US Open is coming up soon and you’re a former champion (2011). What’s it like to go back to Flushing Meadows having won the tournament before?

Sam Stosur: All the Grand Slams are exciting to go to, regardless, but I think having won that one, yeah last year was really cool going back there for the first time and you see your picture on the wall in the corridor with all those other people you’ve seen win and have looked up to and you go “wow!” And then all of a sudden yours is there, so that’s pretty cool! So yeah, it’s nice going back to an event where you know you’ve done really well and there’s lots and lots of good memories. Sometimes in those harder times you can kind of draw on those for a split second and think, “I’ve done it before, I can do it again.” So, hopefully this year will be another good one.

Oakley: Was it a little bit more added stress last year as well, returning as champion and having to deal with all of the extra commitments?

Sam Stosur: Yeah, I mean there’s a couple of extra little things that I had to do last year, but again, you have to look at that as a bit of a privilege because nobody else gets to do that stuff. As much as it’s extra and you have to be aware of that, like I said, it’s pretty cool too! So no, I guess it’s not added pressure or spotlight going back this year. There’s not that “Are you going to live up to that? Are you going to do it again? Or are you going to totally bomb?” So there’s not going to be all that to deal with this time around.

Oakley: And take us back to that winning moment in 2011. That had to be the biggest moment of your career, right?

Sam Stosur: Oh, by far! Everyone always talks about the final, because it was against Serena [Williams], but the whole tournament I played really well and I had some really tough matches, a couple of easier ones, but yeah, everything about it was just a great two weeks. Obviously everything fell into place for me in that final, which is obviously the icing on the cake. So yeah, I’ll probably look back on that as definitely one of the better matches I’ve played in my career, so it’s nice to have done it in that moment.

Oakley: You obviously can’t choose which majors you will win, but is there one that’s been on your bucket list? We’re guessing it’d be the Aussie Open??

Sam Stosur: Sure! I mean, I’d really love to do that, but I haven’t really come close to the Aussie Open yet, but I’ve made it to the semi-finals at the French Open and the final once. So I’ve done really quite well at the French so I’d love to win that event, but if it was Aussie Open or US Open again or somehow Wimbledon, I certainly wouldn’t complain!

Oakley: You train extraordinarily hard. We see it in pictures and videos all over the world. Take us through what it’s like training for these major tournaments.

Sam Stosur: Well, you’ve gotta put in the time to be able to do well, so if I’m not at a tournament then I’ll probably do a little bit more. But at an event you’ve got to obviously be prepared, but you also can’t be too tired or fatigued as well going into a tournament. Because if you do do well, that’s more fatiguing than anything else.

For example, just yesterday we did a two hour session on court and that was pretty tough and then just did a bit of recovery in the pool. I’ve got a physio traveling with me for the next four weeks so it’s nice to be able to just not have to wait around and you can plan everything. So at the moment it’s a fine line between practicing enough and doing what you need to do, but being sensible as well.

Oakley: Alright, last question: everyone knows you as Sam Stosur “the tennis player.” You’re always training and working hard at your game. But for those who don’t know you personally, what do you do in your off-time for fun?

Sam Stosur: Well, I like to go to the beach whenever I’m at home. I don’t live too far from the beach, so I would pretty much go down there every day whether it’s to get in the water, or go for a walk, or swim or whatever. I like to go out for coffee [laughs]. We’re Australian and we can get a little obsessed about coffee at home! So I don’t think there’d be a day that would go by and I wouldn’t venture out and go for a coffee somewhere. And when I’m at home I try and see a few friends, my family who I don’t get to see too much. So yeah, I just like to do normal things. I like to cook a little bit and yeah, just what everyone else would do!

Oakley: Great! Well, best of luck at the US Open! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us.

Sam Stosur: No worries! Thank you!