Molik hands out some advice to Stosur
Gold Coast, 24 November 2007
Don't rush a comeback from a debilitating illness.
That's Alicia Molik's advice to Australia's top-ranked women's tennis player Sam Stosur after a nasty virus ruined the second half of the Queenslander's 2007 world tour campaign.
Stosur, 23, was discharged from a Florida hospital in mid September after being diagnosed with viral meningitis, an illness that inflames the soft tissue membranes surrounding the brain.
She also contracted an unrelated virus in July that forced her withdrawal from the Fed Cup tie between Australia and the Ukraine and severely disrupted her US summer circuit in which she failed to win a singles match.
But speaking today at the launch of the Australian women's hardcourts event on the Gold Coast, Stosur said she was close to being fully recovered.
She revealed that Molik had sent her a text message recently to check on her condition and offer some encouragement.
Molik took an extended break from tennis in October 2005 to recover from an inner ear infection before returning to the circuit in July last year.
"She actually sent me a message a little while ago just asking how I was and she hopes everything's OK," Stosur said.
"She gave me a few little tips ... don't come back too soon and make sure you're over it.
"I guess maybe I can learn something from Alicia."
Stosur has been restricted to light training since arriving home on the Gold Coast last Friday but says she'll step up her workload in Sydney next week.
Her absence from the tour resulted in her world ranking dropping from 29 to 46 but Stosur is confident it won't be long before she regains top form.
"I just have to make sure I don't go too hard, too soon and really make sure that I'm recovered from it," she said.
"I'm trying to be smart with things but it's always hard.
"You want to go out there and do absolutely everything that you can straight away but it's just a matter of ... looking to the future and not thinking that everything needs to come straight away."
There are no top ten players competing on the Gold Coast in 2008 but the Tier III event will boast two-time Grand Slam winner Amelie Mauresmo and the Czech Republic's world No.12 Nicole Vaidisova.
Tournament director Liz Smylie is looking forward to watching Hungary's rising star Agnes Szavay, 18, who started the year ranked 189 but has soared to inside the top 20, reaching the US Open quarterfinals along the way.
"She's on the verge, as is Nicole Vaidisova, of something extraordinary in women's tennis," Smylie said.
Smylie said it was disappointing that crowd favourite Martina Hingis – who recently quit tennis after testing positive for cocaine – would not be on the Gold Coast in 2008.
"She's been great for the event over the last couple of years," Smylie noted.
"Obviously she's got some issues that she needs to sort out. I've always found her to be a fantastic lady."
The women's hardcourts event will merge with the Adelaide men's tournament and shift to a proposed state tennis centre Brisbane in 2009, making the upcoming championship an emotional time for Smylie.
"The most important thing is you have to make sure the right people are running the event," she said.