After an impressive end to 2013, Samantha Stosur goes into the new campaign refreshed, relaxed and raring to go.
Home hopes, as ever, will be pinned on Samantha Stosur. Following a difficult campaign - she split with long-term coach David Taylor and finished outside the Top 10 for the first time since 2009 - Stosur finished with a flourish, winning one title and posting two runner-up finishes in her final three tournaments.
Now working alongside Miles Maclagan, the 29-year-old is feeling refreshed, relaxed and raring to go.
"This year we've been able to do a lot more on foot," Stosur said in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald. "Last year, I did heaps of bike and strength work because I wasn't able to really put weight through my legs for a long time because of the ankle surgery.
"So this year I've been able to do a lot more of what we wanted to do last year and hopefully that's gonna pay dividends earlier on."
In the past Stosur has struggled to deal with the weight of expectation placed on her during the Australian summer, but is exuding an air of quiet confidence this time around.
"There's always pressure because you want to play well and do your best here in your home country, at your home Grand Slam and all that," Stosur, who will compete in the Hopman Cup and Hobart prior to the Australian Open, added.
"It is what it is. The last couple of years have been pretty disappointing, so hopefully this year I can really pick up from that and play well. That's what I want to do and I know if I play well then I've got a chance of doing half decent."
And she is equally upbeat about Maclagan, who formally joined up with Stosur and her team last Tuesday.
"I think he's got a good demeanor on court, he seems to be very professional," she said. "I've always kind of got a good vibe from him.
"We've been at the same table for lunch a few times and whatnot. So there's still a lot to get to know about him but so far so good."
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