Bring on the heat
If the sun is shining in Paris over the coming fortnight, then so will Sam Stosur at the French Open.
The Gold Coaster admitted the weather would play a major part in her bid to become Australia’s first singles title holder at Roland Garros since Margaret Smith-Court in 1973.
“Yeah, the warmer the conditions the better for me,” she told AAP.
“I don’t want any rainy days in Paris on the days that I play.
“The weather can make a huge difference, particularly at this event with the way the clay plays.
“Last year the first couple of matches were my hardest because the conditions were the hardest.
“But if everything goes to plan and I can play well, then I think things could turn out well for me.”
Stosur’s game is best suited to the clay court playing as fast and bouncy as possible and that requires warm, dry conditions.
“You just can’t get as much height or as much bounce and as much pace through the air (when it is damp) because the ball is heavier,” she said.
“It is clay so you can play in light rain and they will keep you out there for as long as they can before it is going to wreck the court.
“I have played plenty of matches in the rain and not enjoyed it, so it is just one of those things you have to deal with.
“If you can get through a match like that, then it might be sunny the next time and you are able to play your best then.”
Stosur’s kick serve looms as being a crucial part of her weaponry in her potential fourth-round match up against claycourt supremo Justine Henin.
The tiny Belgian ruled the courts at Roland Garros on the way to winning three straight titles between 2005 and 2007 and Stosur will need her serve firing to push past the likes of the feisty European.
Henin’s premature retirement saw her skip the 2008 and 2009 editions of the Paris tournament before reaching the Australian Open final in her return to grand slam action this year.
Stosur opens her campaign against teenage Romanian qualifier Simona Halep before a likely meeting with the victor of the clash between Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic and Rossana De Los Rios of Paraguay.
It is expected to get much tougher in the third round for the Queenslander in the form of a showdown against Australian Open and Wimbledon semi-finalist Zheng Jie.
Henin looms in the fourth round and world No.1 Serena Williams in the quarter-finals.
“In that quarter are probably three of the top five favourites but one person is going to win out of those three,” said Stosur’s coach Dave Taylor.
“Sam has had a win over Serena and has not been fortunate to beat Henin but she has taken a set off her.
“But Sam would not be even worried about that now, that is a waste of time because she has to get there first.”
None of the nine Australians in the men’s and women’s singles draws were scheduled to play on the opening day of the tournament on Sunday.