“I’ve still got a few good years at least in me,” says Sam
Sam Stosur will turn 32 in March, but the Australian champion shows no sign of slowing down as she prepares to embark on her 18th pro season.
Stosur, training in the off-season before kickstarting her 2016 campaign at the Brisbane International, is the seventh oldest player ranked inside the top 100.
Yet she said that as long as she was getting results and enjoying competition, she saw no reason to wind up her major-winning career.
“I think I’ve still got a few good years at least in me,” said the former world No.4.
“As long as I’m competitive and feel I can play with the best players and feel, one, it’s enjoyable, and two, I’m getting something out of it, then I don’t see myself stopping for a long time.”
While currently ranked 27th – her lowest season-ending ranking in seven years – Stosur in 2015 captured two WTA titles and scored wins over Lucie Safarova and Angelique Kerber, both now ranked inside the top 10.
She admitted it was hard to replicate the form she displayed in her peak years of 2009 to 2012, and believed age was a factor.
“I think physically since then I haven’t been as good because of a few of my injuries. And then even though this year I wasn’t injured as such, it’s still taken a long time to almost get the movement and those little details you work on with coach kind of right,” she said.
“(The level has) been there at times but I haven’t been able to sustain it I don’t think. So I think that’s a big thing physically, and maybe that goes with being a bit older as well.
“I think also in the last year or two there’s been real waves mentally sometimes with that motivation. I think it’s one of those things when you do something for 15 or 16 years all of a sudden you have this dip … sometimes it takes a while to get out of it.”
Yet Stosur feels she has turned a corner.
Free of injury during a pre-season for the first time in several years, she feels she can train more effectively, a boost to her confidence.
And she is benefitting from a revamped pre-season routine that has seen her working alongside younger athletes at Melbourne’s National Tennis Centre.
“The last three or four pre-seasons I haven’t been able to run and I’ve been a bit restricted with things I’ve been doing and at the moment I’m not. So if we need to do a running session, I can actually do a running session. And that’s good,” she said.
“Now it’s just a matter of making sure you recover well and you do all those things, because it is harder to recover, and you’ve got to be able to back it up now.
“Training with these guys in here, I’m at least 10 years older than all of them, sometimes 15 years. And they’re just like bang bang bang; I think I can do it (too), but would I imagine they’re not waking up as tired and sore as what I am each day (laughter).
“But that’s all part of it – and I really enjoy that challenge.”