January 19, 2004
THE MODERATOR: First question, please.
Q. Your first Grand Slam appearance today, I think I'm right. How did it feel out there when you went out on court?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: It was good. I played last year, though. But it was nice playing out there. I never played on that court. Bit different, first round again. So it was good. I played pretty well. She did as well. But I think I just sort of made things a little harder for her as the match went on. But, yeah, I'm pretty happy with it.
Q. You look confident starting out. Were you confident going out? Did you play to your own expectations?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Yeah, I was confident going out there. I was expecting a hard match, but I just went out playing the way that I wanted to play and didn't let anything really worry me. So I just really focused on what I was doing out there.
Q. Where are you a better player than last year, do you think?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: I think I'm better, a lot better just sort of mentally. I think I can keep my concentration out there a bit more and just a bit more experienced playing big matches on big courts, that sort of thing. I think all around my game's just improved, gone up a level or two with just consistency and everything. I think the main thing is that I've had a lot more experiences doing this, so, yeah.
Q. You seem to have more power. Is that not the case?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: I don't know. I could (laughing).
Q. It's been a long time since Australia has had a Top 10 woman player. Have you felt the burden coming up, as being someone who's being picked out as a potentially very good player?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Not really. I think it's only a good thing if your federation sort of gets behind you and urges you on. I haven't felt any pressure that I've got to meet certain expectations or anything. All of us try and push each other through and get as high as we can.
Q. You play Kapros next. Have you played her before?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: We might have played in Juniors a long time ago, but I can't really remember an actual match.
Q. Would Craig scout that match and give you some idea?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: She was on before I went out, so I don't know. I don't think he saw any of it. I've got a fair idea about how she plays.
Q. What are your sort of -- was it Top 50, your goal ranking-wise?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Yeah, if I can achieve that, I'd be very happy. I think the way I'm going, I don't see any reason why I shouldn't set my goal that level. It's going to be hard, but you got to set it somewhere and sort of make it.
Q. What kind of difference has playing Fed Cup meant over the last year? Has the experience helped?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Oh, for sure. I think that's one of the best things I've ever done. And even though I lost that match, I think it really helped me through where I am now. So just another match and playing in front of a home crowd and everything. Yeah, doesn't really get much better than that. But I think every experience that I have playing at big tournaments and stuff can really help me.
Q. You've, obviously, this summer taken the next step up from the Gold Coast, a round in Tasmania, a round here, regardless of what happens now, do you feel now you really have finally broken through that difficult barrier from Juniors into the main event?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Yeah, I think so. Last year was a hard year for me, and I had some good results but didn't quite win the big -- like the big matches that I have the last month. So I think it was all just a learning curve. I think, hopefully now after the last three weeks, I've sort of broken through that and it's not going to be so much of a big deal for me anymore. But, yeah, I think it's really helped.
Q. Have you always had a kick second serve?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Yep.
Q. I mean, it's certainly a handy weapon on a surface like this, isn't it?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Helps a lot. It was always the best thing for me in Juniors. None of the girls really knew how to handle it. Now that I'm playing the older girls and stuff, they're sort of a bit more used to it, but it's still a handy thing for me to be able to do.
Q. Has your backhand come along? Your forehand has always been good. But has the backhand been the shot that's picked up for you?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: I think my backhand's always been probably my more consistent shot. But my forehand gives me the winners and that sort of thing. Yeah, I think everything's just sort of gotten a bit better and not so loose with anything anymore.
Q. In Hobart you had a thigh injury, or calf injury.
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Hamstring.
Q. How has that come along?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: It's fine. Yeah, it was sore during that match, then the next couple of days. But I've had lots of treatment on it and it's not bothering me anymore.
Q. This will be your biggest pay day today?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: No, not today. Last year was (laughing).
End of FastScriptsâ€¦.