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January 15, 2022

Samantha Stosur

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Final tournament in singles. Does it feel real?

SAMANTHA STOSUR: Kind of doesn't at the moment. Everything's just kind of as normal. Preparing the same. You're still going through your same training and everything else that you normally would.

So sort of obviously know it's going to be, but yeah, I guess so far it's just really back on mind on the job. Yeah, I have no doubt on Tuesday when I do play, it's going to feel a little bit normal, if that it is the end, but hopefully it's not. So yeah, just taking it day by day.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Is there anything different about the tournament? Do you have your family, your daughter here? Do you take a different approach at all?

SAMANTHA STOSUR: Look, my family are here. That's nothing new. They always come down to Aussie Open. Yeah, mum and dad have already been here for a couple days, my brother arrived today, my other brother is coming in a few days.

Yeah, that's going to be nice to have all my family around. Hopefully Evie might be able to come. We'll see what time I'm playing and everything else, go from there.

Look, it's certainly going to feel a bit different maybe when I'm playing. You look up into the stands, all of that stuff. But at the end of the day it's, yeah, all on my terms. I think it's something that I feel really good about. I think not every athlete gets to kind of I guess finish like that. In that respect I'm pretty content with that. Obviously I'm still going to continue in the doubles. It's not all over. Little by little I'll get there.

Q. You're playing against Robin Anderson first up. The expectations you're setting on yourself?

SAMANTHA STOSUR: Look, in all honesty, I don't know Robin at all. Got a little bit of research to do over the next couple of days.

I mean, this tournament probably more so than ever is about going out there and enjoying it. Obviously you want to win. If you play tennis or any sport, you're competitive. I couldn't have done this for this long if I wasn't competitive.

Absolutely you want to go out there and do your best, come away with the win if possible. But first and foremost, I want to go out there, enjoy myself, play well, be free, swing. If I want to hit, go for that winner down the line, I'm going to do it. I think it's about, yeah, playing and enjoying that moment and soaking it all up.

Yeah, when it comes down to nitty-gritty you're going to still be in the same positions you've always been in, trying to win points, work out tactically what's going on and all that sort of stuff that's going to happen automatically. You've done it too long for that not to happen in autopilot now.

Q. Reflecting on the 20 years of Grand Slam tennis, how significantly have the commitments to training and fitness changed over the years? Can you remember how you went about it in 2002 compared to what's expected now?

SAMANTHA STOSUR: Oh, 2002, I probably had no idea what I was doing. You just kind of go, seeing what other people do, go with it, hope it all works out. Now, yeah, you know what works. You go through similar things. You might try and change things up as years go on.

Yeah, look, I think back then you're just so new, inexperienced, you just kind of are playing. Then, yeah, as you get that experience, you probably start overthinking too many things like everyone, then when you get a little bit older you realize that doesn't work and you go with what feels good.

But yeah, look, the training over the years definitely has changed and gone from you put in all the hours, huge pre-seasons, all of that. This year actually has been quite different because I went to Guadalajara, had a couple of weeks off, then my pre-season was like three weeks. That was it.

You just keep going into that mode of training, training, training, waiting for the tournaments to start again. Yeah, there's no doubt my training has adapted over the years, that's for sure.

Q. How different do you think it's going to be going from the mindset of making the decision and announcing that you're not going to play singles anymore to actually coming to terms with that is your last match, never going to play singles again?

SAMANTHA STOSUR: To be honest, I feel like since I made that decision, you know, 3 December, that was way worse than what it feels like now. Not knowing, one day thinking this, one day thinking that, not being able to decide.

I remember calling Stubbsy one day. She's like, All right, what are you doing today? Having a laugh about it. Actually once I made the decision, then I felt really good about it.

I think that, first and foremost, I guess is what you want leading into something like Tuesday's match and everything, and then from there I think, yeah, whenever it ends up finishing. It's definitely going to be a big moment for me, shaking hands for that last time on the singles court and all that.

Like I said before, I feel like I've made the decision. I feel good about it. It's on my terms. Yeah, you can go out, finish at home, finish at a Grand Slam, kind of not any better place to finish as an Australian I think.

Yeah, however it goes I'm really happy with that.

Q. Reflecting on your last few years, how difficult was it going from being a top-five player, a Grand Slam contender, to the last few years of your career when you know it's going to be a lot tougher to get wins, what was that like?

SAMANTHA STOSUR: Look, it's been pretty hard the last couple years, to be honest. Yeah, as your ranking starts dropping, then making decisions on I'm playing these tournaments, the schedule becomes harder to make than when you're top 10 in the world. Top 10, top 20 you know where you're going, it's pretty simple.

I would say having some good success in the doubles still. Then you throw a pandemic in there and everything else.

I think, yeah, last year was pretty hard feeling like I'm still training, still got that desire, still got everything that you had five years ago, but you're not getting the reward for it. Yeah, that was not easy for sure.

But then on the flip side you can do well in dubs, win a slam, go home feeling pretty happy about your trip. It's tough. I think career, lots of careers, kind of go that way. Again, I still feel like I can go out there and play well. I played with Iga yesterday and felt great. I'm thinking, Geez, still able to come out here and play practice sets and matches with someone in the top 10.

No doubt as you become older, it certainly becomes harder to back that up.

Q. As an Australian, knowing so well the context of what the country has endured during the pandemic, what are your thoughts on how it's handled the Djokovic matter?

SAMANTHA STOSUR: Look, I think it's all been a little bit messy. That's probably an understatement, but...

Look, I think it's a really unfortunate situation that it's come to at this point in time. Hopefully over the weekend a decision can be made finally, whether you agree or don't agree, he stays, he goes, whatever the case, it's just got to be decided and hopefully it's not going to tarnish the rest of the Australian Open.

Obviously it's a huge story around the world. We want the Aussie Open to be for good things, not unfortunately what the Novak situation has become.

Q. For so long you were the standard bearer for Australian women's tennis. You have an Aussie No. 1 and Aussie talent coming up right behind her. Your thoughts as to where do you leave Australian women's tennis? What is the state of it? What is your role in that legacy?

SAMANTHA STOSUR: I mean, yeah, obviously for a number of years I guess I was the No. 1 ranked player. That's something I always felt very proud of. Now having Ash be No. 1 in the world, not just Australia, but in the world, winning slams, doing what she's doing for tennis in this country, is absolutely incredible.

Obviously from that respect we can't be in a better place. If you have the No. 1 player in the world, but you're not necessarily the best country for tennis if you've only got one player. Fortunately I think we've got Ajla in the top 50 or so, Dash is on her way back. I have no doubt she's going to find herself where she was, where she belongs. She's too good a player not to be able to get back there.

Storm is coming up. She's had the year of her life. Pri, Lizette. Astra between 100 and 200.

Again, if we can get all those girls, I want to be ranked higher than you, all push each other along, then yeah, hopefully they can all find themselves in main draw Grand Slams and really be on tour, the WTA Tour, full-time and we can have a really good group.

They're all fantastic people. Yeah, I really hope they can kind of keep pushing along in years to come, hopefully months, be up there with Ash somewhere, or close to it. Obviously that's the pinnacle and that's not easy to get to.

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