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January 16, 2016
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Can you talk a bit about your start to the season, being back in Melbourne, how it feels.
SAM STOSUR: Yeah, I think the start of the season has been pretty good for me. I think you always want a little bit more. I've been able to play five pretty good matches, have lots of time on court, have a few wins along the way.
Yeah, I'm feeling good and really happy with the way I guess I've come into this year's Open.
Q. You have a qualifier first up. How does that alter your tournament?
SAM STOSUR: Yeah, I just guess it makes it harder to practice certain things you want to do against whoever you end up playing. Yeah, I've already had my practice session for the day, so I get tomorrow to prepare for whoever that is.
Look, it's just the way it is sometimes. There's 12 of us who are in that position. It is nice to know who you've got so you can do that preparation. But, yeah, I know the way that I like to play in general. So that probably in the end doesn't change too much.
Q. Many years you traveled to so many countries. Do you need to be a bit of a Gypsy soul when you travel to Slovakia straight after the Australian Open?
SAM STOSUR: Yeah, obviously being a player, you have to travel a lot. You're away from home most of the year. You do that for many, many years. You certainly get good at not taking I guess too many possessions that you don't necessarily need to play tennis.
I think as I get older, that gets harder and harder. Sometimes you want that touch of home with you to make it that little bit easier. That goes with it.
Sometimes you don't feel like getting on another plane or packing other suitcase. You have no choice, it's what you have to do.
Q. Do you still have a hunger to explore?
SAM STOSUR: I like going out and do things. I don't like sitting in my hotel room. I always try to get out and see something at the city I'm in, go to restaurants, find a good cafe to get out and about.
Q. What do you make of the women's draw? Big names under an injury cloud.
SAM STOSUR: I haven't looked at the draw to even know who most people even play. I know who a lot of the Australians play and that's it.
Look, I think there obviously have been quite a few withdrawals in the last couple weeks unfortunately. I have no doubt they're all going to step on court and be ready for first round. I don't think because of what's happened the last couple weeks that there's anything wide open or anything like that at this stage.
Q. What is the feeling like amongst the Australian players knowing it's Lleyton's last tournament?
SAM STOSUR: Look, obviously he's been a leader of the tennis in Australia for a really long time, especially of all the guys. Now he's Davis Cup captain. There's a lot going on in his mind as well at the moment which would definitely be pretty tough to come out and play, especially playing another Aussie in the first round.
I think we all definitely, you know, respect his career. He's done amazing things for tennis in general. He's achieved pretty much all there is to achieve.
He can certainly I guess walk away from the Australian Open and his career whenever he's finished here pretty proud of what he's been able to do.
Q. What are your plans leading into the Olympics? Are you planning to play doubles with an Australian player?
SAM STOSUR: No, I haven't really spoken to anyone about that. Sometimes you see a lot of players start, all of a sudden they cut a successful partnership to play with a fellow country person for the Olympics when it's only one event.
But we play tennis all year and have many big events. I think that's something I will look at obviously, but I haven't made any major decisions as far as that goes.
Q. A few months into this second era with David, are you doing something completely different than what you did together?
SAM STOSUR: No, not completely different. I think we obviously worked together well and did a lot of things that worked very well for me. I had lots of success. I think a lot of it's been getting back to that. I think everyone is always trying to improve. You're always trying to find little things. I'm not reinventing my style or game or anything like that.
I think it's important you always try to move forward. There's always things to work on. Now it's probably those little things that are sometimes hard to change but they can make a big difference. I think we're both probably aware of what those things are and are always trying to work towards that now.
Match to match, different things can pop up. You work on that or that becomes your focus for a little bit. The next couple of weeks it might change.
Tennis, you always have to evolve with what's going on.
Q. Any regrets that you ended that partnership too soon? Do you look back and wish you hadn't done that?
SAM STOSUR: No, I think it ended when it did because of the reasons that were there at that time. I think at the time it was the right decision. That's all that I can look to.
When I asked Dave if he would coach me again, obviously that was a little bit different to kind of go back to that. I'm glad I at least asked the question and we've been able to start again and do well so far. Hopefully it can keep going forward in a really good direction.
I think at the time it happened, it was a good decision.
Q. Do you feel like you picked up where you left off?
SAM STOSUR: Pretty much. Probably work a little bit differently now. I think anyone who's worked with a coach for six, seven years now, even with that break, it changes from the start to maybe the present time. I think it has to be like that, otherwise it doesn't work either.
Q. How far do you think Dasha can go?
SAM STOSUR: In her career?
Q. This event or this year even.
SAM STOSUR: She obviously made huge gains from the start of last year till now. She's very, very competitive. I get along really well with her. We've done a fair bit of training together in December. I think she's really got good fight. She definitely has improved her tennis a lot.
Who knows. Different kind of year now because she had absolutely nothing to lose last year. Everything was just up and up. Maybe some of the top players she played didn't know much about her. Now we're all aware of who she is. Now she's got to be, like I am, keep improving, keep trying to evolve with whatever it is you're doing. It's a good test the second year round, for everyone, not just her.
Q. Nice having another strong female Australian contender?
SAM STOSUR: Maybe from a public perspective. But I'm still out there trying to do what I think I can achieve. Whether or not there's somebody ranked 10 places below me or 200, that doesn't change the way I approach what I'm going to do.
Q. When you're an athlete, you try to minimize the risk of getting injured. But do you think you could do something crazy like get on a bike with Casey Stoner on Phillip Island?
SAM STOSUR: Probably wouldn't do that. There are things I want to do. I'd love to go skiing. I've never been skiing. I'd love to do that. For sure, there's stuff. I'm aware if I hurt myself doing something else, I probably would be really angry with myself definitely at this part of my career.
I would probably err on the side of being careful and caution at the moment because I know once I'm done there will be plenty of time to do all that stuff.
Q. What will be a successful tournament for you here?
SAM STOSUR: I don't know. I don't ever really say I want to make this round, otherwise I'm not going to be happy. At a tournament, success is defined by what round you get to. But for me, I want to handle myself well, play well, do the things that I need to be doing, put myself in good positions hopefully to win many matches.
If I can do all that and play to my ability, then I'll be happy.
Q. You shared the same preparation with Dasha and trainer. Who is the fitter one?
SAM STOSUR: Me, of course (laughter). I'm like 10 years older than Dasha. But, yeah, we use the same trainer now. She worked with Stefano a fair bit longer than me. It's been fun training with her and some of the other younger players in Australia.
They're doing kind of some of the same stuff now. I looked at her at Hopman Cup, at her feet and movement, to see what she was doing. She moves very well, so there's certainly things I can learn from her as well.
Q. Another Australian female that you've identified as being the next big thing in Australia?
SAM STOSUR: This year we had Priscilla Hon and Kimberly Birrell join as at two Fed Cup ties as hitting partners. They've been doing the best out of the juniors. You had Madison Inglis win the playoff for the wild card, which was great for her. I think they're the three that have been going to the junior slams, winning matches out on the junior circuit.
I'd love to say all of those girls try and do well here. A couple of them got really hard draws. It's going to be the first Australian Open for all of them. I hope they can enjoy the experience. Yeah, you never know, sneak out a win.
Q. How crazy do you think it was for Irina to play the day after her wedding?
SAM STOSUR: I haven't spoken to her. I wouldn't have planned my wedding at the playoff (laughter).
Credit to her to be able to play the day before, fight out a tough three-setter, then come back the next day and do that. I mean, you got to respect that.
Yeah, I don't know, maybe she wishes she could have had it a different date. I'm sure they had their reasons why they put it there.
Q. Lleyton talked about his mentorship role he's taken on. Is that a stage you are taking on? Do you relish that role? Or are you in a fighting position with these younger girls?
SAM STOSUR: If any of the younger girls want anything from me, any advice, I'd absolutely help them in whatever way I can. I'm still also very much trying to do my thing. I'm still learning and doing all these things as well.
Yeah, it's one of those things. But I'd always be there for any of them if I could help them. I do try and keep a bit of an eye on how they're all going, what they're doing. Like I said, I was training with some of the younger girls down here in Melbourne, which was grade. It's one of these things when you're the older, more experienced ones, it just happens that way. It's important. They're all trying to have a great career, too. I'd like to see them do well.
Q. Has it ignited something in you having the younger players around you pushing you?
SAM STOSUR: Yeah, anytime you can be around other players who are trying their best, doing whatever they can to be better, that's a great environment to be in.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports