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January 7, 2013

Samantha Stosur


J. ZHENG/S. Stosur
6‑3, 6‑7, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  How are you feeling physically after your surgery?  How much did that sort of possible lack of match toughness and physical...
SAMANTHA STOSUR:  Look, to be honest, my ankle feels good at the moment, so it's not a matter of it still being sore and not fully recovered or anything like that.  Each day it feels pretty good.  I get a little bit of achiness at night, but noh thing that stops me from getting back on court the next day to practice.
This week I tried to make a real effort to get out on court a lot more than what I had been and put in a lot hours.  I think I got somewhat of a reward for that because I feel like I did play better tonight and things almost felt pretty normal out there through certain stages.
You know, that's what that is.  Then physically I don't think I lost because I got tired or anything like that.  It was a long match, but I still felt like I was up to it.

Q.  So not the end world in your eyes?
SAMANTHA STOSUR:  No, I mean, it's bad because it's another loss, but to be honest, I feel a lot better after this loss than last week's loss because I felt like I did some better things.  It's not like I was playing a bad opponent either ‑ either week.
So it is what it is, and I'm going to do what I usually do and get back out on the practice court and keep going.  Yeah, I can't change it now anyway, so, yeah.

Q.  How rushed is this preparation?  Would you even be playing now if you weren't trying to be ready for the Australian Open next week?
SAMANTHA STOSUR:  I mean, yeah.  Last week was always a bit of a question in my mind.  Even when I went into it it was, Okay, well if I have to miss Brisbane then I'll miss Brisbane and hopefully things will be fine.  As it turns out things went really well and probably couldn't have gone better than what they did.
But having said that, for sure I was underdone.  But, yeah, I mean, I feel like I've done everything I could to be ready for the summer.  I've gone with it, I'm playing, and happy with the decisions that I've made.

Q.  What will you be doing now in the leadup to Melbourne over the next week?
SAMANTHA STOSUR:  Well, I don't totally know yet.  We've only had a little talk about it before I came in here.  I think I'll probably go to Melbourne on Wednesday and keep practicing, doing lots of hours or court, and, yeah, just keep trying to hit the ball better and play better and get everything better.

Q.  What do you feel was better tonight that last week?
SAMANTHA STOSUR:  I feel like I at least got out of a point in the match where I felt like I could have been playing better than what I was and actually got through that and at least got myself then into a winning position.
Last week I felt I was always kind of playing catchup.  I would get behind, then I'd play a bit better, get even again, and it would fall away; whereas today things almost felt really good, like I could settle and let the arm go and hit those forehands and serve quite well and all that kind of thing.
Yeah, overall I think everything was a lot better.  Then she came up with some very good points when things could have kind of gone away from her in that third.

Q.  Does that give you some hope that you can make a similar jump forward with another week's practice to be at a reasonable level?
SAMANTHA STOSUR:  Yeah, absolutely.  That's the goal.  I just want to start playing well.  Yeah, absolutely.  I think another week I will be playing better again, I think.  You never know what can happen with one win.  I'm really trying to get that.
We'll just try and take it one match at a time, and hopefully I can get through that first one and then from there we'll see.

Q.  Not winning the big points last week or tonight, is that more lack of preparation or still something to do with playing at home?
SAMANTHA STOSUR:  No.  To be honest, probably sounds silly to sit here and think two first round losses but it's not affecting me as much, but I feel a lot more sure about myself and what you want to do and how I am out there on court and how I am between points.
I don't feel that huge amount of frustration or weight on my shoulders or anything like that.  I have to say I feel really good out there.  It's just a matter of trying to play better.
So I think at least I couldn't have said that last year here at this point, so I feel like I've taken a good step in that direction of now it's just trying to play better tennis.

Q.  How do you think you are handling pressures of playing on home soil?
SAMANTHA STOSUR:  Well, I think, to answer that, I do feel like I'm handling it better.  Yeah, I don't feel the same kind of overwhelming stress being out on court.  I'm really trying to enjoy it, which I feel like I'm doing much better than I have maybe the last couple years.
Yeah, it's not the issue this time around, I don't think.

Q.  I've asked this of a few players in the last week:  Given that you guys have played all your life, when you take off a small period of time, come back and play matches, does it feel like you haven't been playing for a long time?  Do you really get that rusty?
SAMANTHA STOSUR:  Yeah, probably sounds silly, but you do kind of feel it.  Even maybe five years ago when I'd take my break and take a few weeks off from hitting I would come back and would take me a week to feel like I was a tennis player again.  Now it takes a day or two.
So in that respect things get easier and you feel like you get the hang of it a lot quicker.  But it is certainly different when you're competing in those matches in even just how you pull up the next day.  Your body feels more sore and things hurt more.
You can go out and train four or five hours a day and you get used to that, but then you put the extra pressure of a big point and a little bit of stress that you feel from that and it's a whole different ballgame.

Q.  What would be an ideal Australian Open for you?
SAMANTHA STOSUR:  Well, I'm not going to put a round on it, but the only thing that I think is tangible that I can kind of have any kind of control on is how I'm going to play and perform and feel.
If I can feel good out on court and feel like I've got some control over what I'm doing and play well, that's going to be good for me.
I think if I can do all those things, then I've got a good chance of winning matches.

Q.  Has there ever been a time in Australia where you felt like you did at the US Open, where you could just go out and play and your game is there and your confidence?  Even against Victoria you pushed her and seemed like almost no nerves whatsoever, executing most of the time.
SAMANTHA STOSUR:  Yeah, for sure there has been Aussie Opens.  I think the year I played Hingis in the fourth round it was like that.  I've been to the fourth round I think another time.
I guess nowadays you get to top 10 and you're playing a home Grand Slam, it's just different.  No, for sure I felt like I have played well there.  I'm holding out hope that it is going to turn around.

Q.  Sydney is one thing; Melbourne is obviously another step up in terms of dealing with the pressure and all that stuff.  Are you ready for what's there next week?
SAMANTHA STOSUR:  Yeah, absolutely.  I'm ready for whatever comes my way.  I'm going to practice and do everything I can to prepare as best I can.  Yeah, when I step out on the court I'll give it my best shot.

Q.  In a bigger Grand Slam sized draw, does that give you a little bit of comfortable that you can be protected a little more?
SAMANTHA STOSUR:  Yeah, I guess everyone will see what happens with the draw when it comes out.  But, yeah, no doubt a bigger draw, there is a wide range of players that you can come up against; whereas here, you know, it's top 30 almost and that's it.
So, yeah, I mean, it is what it is.  You play a tough player, eventually you're going to have to get through them.  Yeah, first round is always going to be tough no matter who you play.  I guess it does give you a wider range.

Q.  Did you feel playing this match tonight has sort of accelerated your progress by having three sets out there, hard fought, and having to go through the motions of all those things?
SAMANTHA STOSUR:  Yeah, absolutely.  Again, today would have loved to win, no doubt, but at least I got through a set, or won a set today.  That's a good start.  Then I was up a break if the third and gave myself every chance of winning tonight, which is I think a big step in the right direction and a better feeling for me to walk off the court knowing that I did that.
So I'm always disappointed to lose, but I think I'll be able to handle this one a bit easier than some of my other losses at other times in my career.

Q.  Serena lost a handful of games and only one match since last summer.  I think she's 35 or 36.  Is it fair to call her a significant favorite in Australia next week?
SAMANTHA STOSUR:  Yeah, I think so.  I think you would be a pretty brave person to go against her straight off the bat.  She's the in‑form player and has carried that for a really long period of time now.
It's interesting to see what she can do and how she handles it and all that coming along.  I guess she's been in that position recently for a few of those slams and obviously she won Wimbledon and the US and then had that little mishap at the French.
Yeah, I think she's the in‑form one for sure.

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