Samantha Stosur Interview - French Open. June 3Posted on June 3, 2010
Q. How does that feel to be in your first Grand Slam final?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Oh, fantastic. I mean, I probably couldn't have asked to play a much better match today in the semifinals.
So to do that today and now be in my first final is just incredible.
Q. It was a great match again. Congratulations, Samantha. But did it almost scare you or bother you that things kept flowing so smoothly? Did you say, Is this gonna go on like this? Were you surprised by how things came easily today?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: No, I mean, I was expecting a tough match, and I was prepared for that.
When things were going the way they were, no, I didn't doubt it for a second or, you know, wonder if I could keep it up, was it going to turn around. I just kept playing the next point. That never really entered my mind at all.
Q. You and, I think, Francesca played a first round match here last year. I'm wondering, what do you remember about that match? Looking back with 20/20 hindsight now, could you have ever imagined how this would have played out?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Yeah, it's quite funny we played each other first round last year and now we're both in the finals. I don't actually remember that much about that match. I know it was cold and wet and whatever. I got through it.
We also played the final of the tournament in Osaka at the end of the year last year, as well. That was the last time we played. We've had a lot of matches against each other. I think we both have a very good way about the way each other play.
We're both going to be excited. It's a great opportunity for both of us. I'm just looking forward to it.
Q. Was there a moment in this tournament where you mentally felt like you really got over the hump and said to yourself, Well, now all I have to focus on is execution and I can get it done?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Yeah, I think I mean, every match can have lots of emotions. And then after the match against Justine, I really, I think, showed myself something there. And then yesterday's match, even more again.
So today I just tried to do exactly that: make it about the tennis and playing the points. I think if I can do that, then it becomes a bit easier out there and you don't get wound up in any situation.
But it's not easy to do that all the time, and you can go in and out of it. But today it was just next point, give me the balls, and we'll go again.
So, I mean, that's the goal every time, but it doesn't always happen.
Q. Last year you won your first title in Osaka with beating Francesca, and now here comes again. Do you think it's kind of like of a lucky charm for you, I mean, to play against Francesca in a final?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Well, I hope so. (laughter.)
But every match is different. I played very good that day in Osaka, and that was great to win my first title. So if it happens again Saturday, then that would just be unbelievable.
I think, you know, it's a final. It's a different situation and everything else. I mean, who knows what's gonna happen? I think it's whoever can handle it better on the day. And then like I said before, maybe keep it about the tennis and they'll probably have a good shot at winning.
Q. Big kick serve. It's kind of a rarity in the women's game. There was another guy from your part of the world who had quite a good quick serve. Did quite well at the US Open a few years ago. Where did that serve come from? Did his influence have anything to do with it?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Well, I was 12 or 13, I think, at the time when my coach at the time I guess showed me the serve or kind of showed me how to do it. I picked it up pretty much straightaway.
All through my juniors up until now, it has been a strength of mine and a weapon, and it's got better and better as the years have gone on. I think it is a rarity, so I can kind of pull it out or set myself up for the points in different ways than maybe some girls can, because I can hit had that serve.
I don't know. It was just something I picked up. I guess I'm lucky that he maybe thought that I could do it and showed it to me at such a young age, because I think as you get older maybe it's harder to do it.
Q. Were you a Rafter fan? Who was that coach?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Well, the coach at the time was Ian Brady, and I was coached in Brisbane.
Yeah, I love Pat. I stayed up many nights and was late for school in the mornings because I was watching him play.
Yeah, he was good to watch.
Q. Obviously you're improving so much in the last few years, last couple of years. Would you say that your endurance, your stamina, your fitness regime is making the difference, or even that playing doubles at so high level that is you making the difference? I don't know. Would you say about something about?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Oh, I think it's a lot of things. It's not just one aspect. My fitness and strength is something I've been working on for probably a good five years very seriously. That hasn't been an overnight process. And, you know, really understanding my game and how to use it and my strengths and weaknesses and all that, I've got a lot better at understanding everything that I can do over the last few years a lot better.
And then self belief and starting to win big matches. So I think it's a combination of lots of things all coming together.
Q. With the way today's first match ended, were you caught off guard at all about having to get out there earlier than you might have expected? How easy or hard was it to sort of get into match mode?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Yeah, I was, yeah, definitely surprised that it was over so quick. I wasn't totally ready. I was still getting my ankle taped as Elena was walking off the court. So quickly finished that and got organized.
But, yeah, you don't expect it, so it's not always easy to come out there straightaway and you feel rushed or whatever. But I think I just tried to just, once I was ready to go on court, calm down, take a few deep breaths and not feel rushed or panicked because we were going on earlier than expected.
Q. I guess also with Francesca, being her first Grand Slam final, does that help you at least knowing that you're not like going in against a Henin or a Williams, in that sort of special atmosphere?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Yeah, I could probably think no matter what I'm feeling she's probably thinking it too, so it's a different new situation for both of us. Who knows how we're both gonna feel.
I'm sure there's gonna be some nerves out there, and I'm ready for that. I'll try and prepare myself as best I can to handle anything that happens.
But, yeah, I mean she hasn't gone through it before either, so that's probably a little bit comforting.
Q. You have a very good clay court season, and then this incredible run recently with these three wins over incredible No. 1 players. Talk about what this last streak over the three players has meant in terms of your strokes. Do you think that you, especially with your two serves and your forehand, have a package that is just really hard for the other women to answer? Talk about a little bit more about your belief, also.
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Yeah. I think certain players I match up very well against, and some I still struggle.
It is a little bit maybe different for players to come out playing against me because of those two shots, serve and a forehand, whereas a lot of girls might have great returns and a better backhand.
So it is a different matchup. Whenever I play different styles of play you have to adjust things, but I think maybe they have to adjust more than what I do because maybe I'm a bit of the rarity out there with those two shots being my weapons.
Q. I believe you've been asked this quite often, but can you tell us again what is this all about with your glasses? Why are you wearing them? Is it a trademark? Is it a habit? What is it?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: I started wearing them when I was 13 or 14, and I just I actually don't know why I started. I just wanted a pair, and begged mom and dad to go get me some.
I've worn them ever since from, yeah, when I was 14. So it's just become a bit of a habit, and now I can't really go on court without them. If it's sunny outside, I can't see.
I think my eyes have become a bit sensitive from wearing them all the time on court. Off court it's just one of those things.
Q. You wear them even if the sun wasn't shining?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: If it's glary or even if the sun isn't fully out sometimes, you still want to wear sunglasses. But if it's a night match I don't wear them. It's not all the time. But if it calls for it, then I do?
Q. So it brings luck, you think?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: I don't know if it brings luck. It's just probably more like it's part of my equipment. I bring them on the court just like I bring my racquet. It's just one of those things.
Q. You're a long way from home. What sort of a group of either relatives or friends or support group do you have here with you? Was there anybody who came after you started accumulating these wins to show up?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Actually, some really good family friends at home had planned a trip to Europe for six weeks and the French was part of it so they've been here the whole time.
Now I think the rest of my family want to come. I guess they've got a short window to get here before the final. I haven't spoken to them yet today, but I'm pretty certain they're gonna be looking at flights now as we speak.
Q. Who would that be?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Mom and dad and probably both my brothers.
Q. Can you describe the Sam Stosur who lost in qualifying in 2003, what type of player she was?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Probably someone who didn't like a clay court and didn't know how to move and was very impatient.
I've kind of turned all those things around. Yeah, back then I don't think I had a lot of experience on it, and was never really taught the right way how I could use my game.
Over the last few years, I've just started to really enjoy it. I think that's one thing that I didn't even think about when I first started playing on clay.
It was just so foreign, and I didn't know what to do. Now obviously I've worked it out and love the surface.
Q. How old were you when you first saw a red clay court?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: I was 15 in a junior 18 and under Australian trip, and we came to Europe for the first time. I played five weeks on clay and lost every single match in the first round.
Yeah, so that was my first experience. It wasn't a good one.
Q. What sort of places? What sort of countries were you in then?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: We played four weeks in Italy, one in Belgium, and here. I don't think I ever made the junior singles here. I played doubles, and then came back the next year.
Q. Who else was on that trip with you? Can you remember?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Monique Adamczak, Melissa Dowse, Melanie Clayton. I think that was it.
Q. Doesn't stick in the memory, then?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: No, no, no, I actually had a great I didn't really enjoy the trip at the time because I was losing every week, but looking back it was actually one of the most fun junior trips that I had.
Q. Talking about confidence, what kind of confidence have you gained from your last three matches Justine, Serena and Jelena that can really help you in the final?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Yeah, I think beating the caliber of players I've played the last three rounds definitely helps me for Saturday's match. I've beaten all those, so why can't I win one more?
Again, it is a final, so it's different, but it definitely gives me huge confidence going into the next match, and hopefully for the rest of my career.
Q. Do you believe you're the type of player who has nothing to lose in the final?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Well, I don't know. Probably now I'm the highest seed going into this next match, so it's a different situation from the last two.
I don't know. It's one of those moments that I just want to enjoy. Win or lose, I want to enjoy it and make the most of that opportunity, because you never know if that's gonna happen again.
Q. Was there any one person or development that happened that gave you the familiarity to deal with playing on clay? Was there something that happened? Someone tell you...
SAMANTHA STOSUR: I think it was just over it just took a few years and it was just over time. And as I actually became a better player myself, that was all just part of it.
And then the last few years working with Dave has helped me a tremendous amount, not just for clay courts but any surface and any tournament, and then all about my game.
So it wasn't I don't know. I don't think it was one particular time where it just clicked, but it was just a bit of a process, I think.
Q. In the previous round when you played Serena and she had match point, that match point just barely went out, you know, like maybe a couple inches. How did you watch that ball, and what did you feel in that moment?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: It kind of felt like it was in slow motion. It was kind of just floating through. I heard the linesman call, Out. It was like it didn't really happen. I had to watch him put his arm out, and then I realized that I was still in the match.
Definitely held my breath for a second there.
Q. Sam, congratulations. Your forced time away through injury and illness, in retrospect do you look at that as just a complete waste, or was there anything about that that altered your career in a good way?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: No, I'd never wish to go through any of that ever again. But in hindsight, who knows what it actually did for me?
Since then I've had the best time of my career, best results, and I'm playing the best.
So maybe looking back, taking all that time out was a good thing. But obviously when I was in it I didn't see like that at all. I think it definitely gave me a new perspective on what I was able to do and how much I love playing and how much I missed it.
So without walking away, maybe I wouldn't have seen that and then really thought, Okay, when I come back I'm going to make the most of every chance every day and see how good I can get and just try and become the best player I could be.
Q. Was there a movie moment sort of where you said, If I ever get this chance again I'm going to all the way, baby? (Laughter.)
SAMANTHA STOSUR: No, I don't think so. When I was out I never let myself doubt the fact that I would return and come back. Obviously I had no idea what was going to happen.
It was actually maybe a little bit of a surprise how positive I was able to stay through the whole thing.