Stosur aims for the top
November 16, 2006 11:00pm
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AUSTRALIAN ace Sam Stosur wants to win her first WTA title when she returns to her hometown tournament on the Gold Coast in January.
Speaking from Madrid, Stosur said she would start her Australian summer with a new coach on board at the Mondial Australian Women's Hardcourt titles on the Gold Coast from December 31-January 6. Organisers will release the entry list today, and the Gold Coast power hitter and world No. 7 Martina Hingis will be among the players at the Royal Pines event.
Stosur racked up seven wins over top-30 players in 2006, including her first top-10 scalp Lindsay Davenport. Her world ranking went from 46 to 29 during the year and she has been ranked No. 1 in doubles for the past 11 months.
"If I can win my first title on the Gold Coast, it would be fantastic and something I'd love to achieve. It would give a little extra feeling to it," said Stosur, who ended her tennis year when she and doubles partner Lisa Raymond won the WTA Championships doubles final in Madrid on Sunday.
"For me, playing on the Gold Coast with everyone willing me to win those matches brings something extra to my play. I feel different playing in Australia."
Stosur's best year on tour came despite having no travelling coach after the French Open, when associations with Gigi Fernandez and Mark Hlwaty ended in quick succession.
But she said she hoped to hire a coach to steer her practice sessions for the Australian summer.
"I have a couple of options. I have to make a few phone calls and decide what I want to do," Stosur said.
"Whether someone travels with me for the month in Australia or the whole year remains to be seen.
"It would be nice to have someone with me, especially back home in Australia where there is so much going on.
"It's hard to take that next step now, but I hope I can get into the top 20 next year."
Stosur, runner-up to Patty Schnyder at the 2005 Gold Coast final, chose to play the Hopman Cup teams event in Perth in 2006, but the Perth organisers preferred Alicia Molik to play in the Australian team in January.
The ranking of the Queenslander, a semi-finalist in 2004 when she needed a wildcard entry, would have given her a seeding at three of the past five Gold Coast tournaments.
"I'm more than happy to be playing on the Gold Coast again, that's for sure," she pointed out.
"I was tossing up what I wanted to do – Gold Coast or Perth – and then I never had the opportunity to worry about it."
Switzerland's world No. 9 Schnyder has played the past 10 Gold Coast tournaments and is an anticipated entrant.
World No. 1 Justine Henin-Hardenne, second-ranked Amelie Mauresmo and Schnyder are the only top 10 women without known commitments for the first week of the Australian circuit.