Stosur hungry for more success.
Stosur hungry for more success
Melbourne,14 April 2008
It's taken over three years but finally Australia's top-three ranked women's singles players are fit, healthy and set to take on the tennis world together in 2008 with Samantha Stosur about to make her much anticipated return after an extended lay-off through injury.
Stosur along with Alicia Molik and Casey Dellacqua have been the stand-out performers for Australia in the women's game over the past few years but injury and illness has rarely seen the trio compete together for long periods.
After an impressive run which saw Stosur rocket to world No.27 in early 2007, she was struck down with what was first diagnosed as viral meningitis but later discovered to be Lyme's disease.
The illness, which is an infectious disease caused by three species of bacteria, kept her on the sidelines for over eight months but after making a full recovery she is now champing at the bit to return to competitive action.
"I'm really excited, I can't wait to start again and get back on the road and do what I haven't been able to do for so long," Stosur said.
"I pretty much feel fine now and have done for a little while, I'm training full on and I feel good, it's just a matter of getting enough hitting time and practice matches because I want to make sure when I start playing I actually have a bit of decent practice behind me."
After initially planning to begin her comeback during last week's Bausch and Lomb Championship in Florida, Stosur is continuing her training at the AIS in Canberra and, barring anymore setbacks, will play a Challenger tournament in Alabama beginning on April 21 before a return to the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour in Rome on May 12.
The Queenslander's world ranking has slipped to 155 but she has an injury-protected ranking of 37 which can be used to enter eight WTA events over the next twelve months as well as the Beijing Olympics, an event Stosur is desperate to attend.
"I loved being in Athens, I was only there for five days but it was probably five of the best days I've ever had," she said.
"Being a part of the team there's really no feeling like it, we have Fed Cup and you're playing for your country and that's awesome (but) then being in the Olympics and being part of a team that's got 400 athletes, it's pretty amazing.
"It's a good feeling and I really hope I'm there to experience it again."
While Stosur is yet to claim a WTA singles title, she has well and truly made her mark in doubles by winning 22 WTA Tour titles including two Grand Slams – the US Open in 2005 and French Open in 2006 – and spending 61 weeks as the world No.1 doubles player.
Stosur said while singles will continue to be her main priority she is extremely proud of what she and her doubles partner American Lisa Raymond have been able to achieve.
"It's a strange feeling, I always wanted to be No.1 but I didn't really think it would happen in doubles," she said.
"That's what every kid playing tennis dreams of becoming and to actually make it was a pretty cool feeling."
After a long stint on the sidelines and watching good friend Dellacqua reach the fourth round of the 2008 Australian Open, Stosur is intent on getting back to her best to help re-ignite the Aussie charge in the women's game.
"When we play all the time you take it for granted and then you get it taken away from you for so long you really realise how much you love it," she said.
"I just want to go out there and play and hopefully by the end of the year I will be back inside the top 100 and just go from there."
◊ Samantha Stosur ◊
◊ Casey Dellacqua ◊ Olivia Rogowska ◊ Monika Wejnert ◊ Jelena Dokic ◊
◊ Laura Robson ◊ Sabine Lisicki ◊ Timea Bacsinszky ◊ Dinara Safina ◊