Sam relishing Brisbane chance
After a week of excellent practice, Sam Stosur was selected as Australia’s No.2 singles player in this weekend’s Fed Cup semifinal against Belarus in Brisbane.
She will also team up with Ash Barty in the doubles rubber.
Stosur is one of Australia’s most decorated Fed Cup players; with 29 singles victories, she has won more singles rubbers in the competition than any other Australian in history.
Friday’s draw ceremony pitted her against Aryna Sabalenka in the opening singles rubber, a tough test but a chance to improve on her lean record in Brisbane over the years.
Stosur has won four of her 13 career singles matches at the Brisbane International, and lost her four previous singles rubbers in Brisbane – albeit three of those in three sets.
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“I’m not going in here thinking, oh my god, I’ve never done so well in Brisbane,” she told tennis.com.au.
“I’ve still played some really good matches here. But everyone’s so good, so it’s not easy to win (laughter). So it’s not something I think about all the time.
“Unfortunately some of the media have that (perspective) and they think it’s the same old, and will just re-hash something from years and years and never change it. But whatever. If winning a match on Saturday changes that perception, then happy days (laughter).”
Success on home soil hasn’t been completely elusive, especially considering that in her last competitive appearance in Australia, she won the Australian Open women’s doubles title.
As a result, her confidence levels are far greater than this time last year, when she most recently represented Australia in the Fed Cup World Group Play-off tie in Wollongong against the Netherlands.
“The Wollongong tie, I was low on confidence; that was probably a good example of not feeling great and being like, ‘Oh geez, I’ve gotta play, and can I do it?’ Kind of questioned myself a little bit and probably played that way,” she said.
“Whereas that success in doubles (this year) definitely does help. You’re playing pressure moments, you’ve got to serve for a match, a set, or comeback from a break down. No matter what you’re doing, practice does not replicate that kind of feeling.
“I’ve had so many of those scenarios more recently; it definitely does help.
“I (also) had my first top-20 win in a few years a few weeks ago in Miami. You want more of those, but at least it just happened in my last event, so that’s something that I can be confident with.”
Stosur recognises that world No.10 Sabalenka poses are massive threat; Sabalenka won their only previous meeting at New Haven in August last year.
But the Aussie is certainly not viewing her opponent as an insurmountable obstacle.
“At the end of the day, there’s pressure in every match, no matter where you are. And I’ve got my own expectation of what I think I’m capable of. But in this situation, the pressure is on her,” she laughed.
“I know I can go out there and try and play my best. At the end of the day that’s all you can do – if you can try and play as well as you can, on that given day, that’s all you can ask for.”