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January 11, 2014

Samantha Stosur


THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  How are you feeling going into your home Grand Slam?
SAM STOSUR:  I'm feeling pretty good.  Pretty happy with my preparation so far.  Still got one more day to fine tune anything.
But I think, yeah, so far the summer's been pretty good.

Q.  Your thoughts when you saw the first‑round draw?
SAM STOSUR:  Yeah, I thought it was a bit funny.  We still had to play yesterday in Hobart.  A bit strange, this will be the third time we've played in the first round of the Aussie Open.  A little bit weird.
But obviously try to rectify any problems that I had out there yesterday and try and obviously do a lot better on Monday.

Q.  Does that match mean anything now?
SAM STOSUR:  Yeah, I don't think it will mean too much.  Won't mean too much for me anyway.
Look, obviously yesterday would have been nice if it went my way.  But, you know, it gives me a chance to really think about what happened and try and work on things and go into Monday, you know, with a clear mind.  I certainly won't be thinking about that last match a couple days ago.

Q.  What were your thoughts overall on the Hobart experience?
SAM STOSUR:  I loved it.  I thought it was a great event.  I really enjoyed my time down there.  I thought, you know, scrapping through that first match was obviously a big step for me.  That second one was kind of a similar situation, down those couple of match points.  Good to win from that position.  Then to play a good match in the next one.
Whatever happened yesterday, I thought it was exactly what I needed.  So, yeah, it was nice to get those three really good matches under my belt and it's always something I kind of lacked going into this tournament, was match play.  Yeah, it was actually nice to get that this time around.

Q.  In terms of your game overall, any areas you need to sharpen up?
SAM STOSUR:  I guess, you know, I'm sure everyone would like to be doing everything that little bit better.  No, I think there's still things I think I can improve and get better at.
I probably would like to return a little bit better on Monday than what I did yesterday, you know, just overall do things a little bit better.  Cut down those errors, obviously, but still play the way I want to play.
I know how I want to play and be aggressive and try to hit winners, there's going to be some errors.  You got to keep that ratio going the right way.

Q.  One of the few players to have beaten Serena Williams in the last few years.  Giving Ash Barty any tips?
SAM STOSUR:  If she wants them, sure.
Look, playing Serena is always a tough prospect.  I think Ash has to go out there, soak it all up, really enjoy the moment.  Obviously she's not expected to win.  But go out there and have as much fun as you can.
I guess it will be a really good opportunity for her to play one of those big‑match moments so early on in her career.
Yeah, I mean, but Ash is a good player and I'm sure she's going to love the opportunity.

Q.  The Aussie Open hasn't been particularly kind to you.  You've spoken in the past about the pressure, how difficult it can be playing on your home patch.  Do you still feel there's a great weight of expectation on you?
SAM STOSUR:  I guess there is, yeah, because I'm the top female player from this country.  We've got a huge Grand Slam tournament.
But, you know, I don't think that's really bothered me this time around so far.  At the end of the day it's always been a really positive thing.  Anyone that has ever come up to me just wants me to do well and they wish me luck.  It's always that nice kind of, you know, talk or whatever you want to say.  I know they just want the best for me.
I want to try to play well and play my best tennis here in Australia and give them all something to cheer about.  It is what it is.  I do enjoy playing here.  I just want to try to do as best as I can.

Q.  Does it feel a little bit different this year?
SAM STOSUR:  Look, last year, I don't think that was an issue for me, to be honest.  I know I didn't win, but I think there were a couple other things going on which also affected the result.
But, yeah, look, this time around I feel fine.  It's not to say I'm sure on Monday I'll be nervous going out there for the first match.  A first round anywhere, you always feel that.

Q.  Have you embraced the occasion and the crowd or do you try to block it out?
SAM STOSUR:  No, I think probably sometimes you try and block it all out.  Other times when you're out there, you know, sometimes it is good to be with the atmosphere, what the crowd is doing.  I know they're on my side.  I know sometimes that can really lift you and maybe help you get through some of those tough moments during a match.
Kind of depends what the moment is and the situation.  But there's no doubt, I'm sure, yeah, the crowd can play a big role in trying to get you over the line in a tough match.

Q.  Does a 17th seeding help you a little bit, remove a little expectation from the public?
SAM STOSUR:  I don't know.  Have to ask them, I guess (smiling).

Q.  For you, do you feel there's a little less pressure on you to perform, given your ranking has dipped off a bit?
SAM STOSUR:  Yeah, I mean, maybe.  I'm also not coming in here this time as the US Open champion either.
You know, it is what it is.  Because I'm seeded 17 this year instead of 8 or 9, whatever I was last year, certainly doesn't lower my expectations of what I think I'm going to be capable of doing.

Q.  Are you surprised by the number of injuries we've seen on both the men's and women's side so far this season?  If so, why do you think that's happening?
SAM STOSUR:  I don't know.  I mean, I guess sometimes maybe it's a bit of bad luck.  Was there a reason for all the injuries at Wimbledon last year?  Who knows.  Maybe it was just bad timing for all those things to happen.
I think sometimes coming off an off‑season where you've been able to take a break, train, do all those things, then you get into the matches, you can train and do everything as much as you want, but as soon as you play a match, it's a whole different prospect.
Yeah, I don't know.  I think maybe it's just one of those things.  Maybe you don't train as much, you come here, all of a sudden with a week to go you try and bump it up.  I don't know.  I don't know what everyone's situation has been.
Look, I think it's one of those things.  Matches do take a much bigger toll on you than any sort of training you do in the pre‑season or any other part of the year.

Q.  Earlier in the day Rafa said the courts here were a lot faster than he experienced.  Do you feel you have enough time to adjust?
SAM STOSUR:  I think the courts here would probably be the same as where we've been playing the last couple of weeks, I would imagine.  I've only had one practice just now.  I didn't find it too different to what it was last week or the week before.
I think compared to previous years, absolutely.  Whether the court is faster, the balls are definitely different.  The balls go through the air a lot faster.  It's easier to get something on it, try to hit winners, whereas a couple years ago it was almost impossible to hit winners.
The balls are definitely different.  Yeah, all around it makes for a faster feeling out there.

Q.  You traditionally hit a very heavy ball.  Do you think that will help you this year?
SAM STOSUR:  I've preferred hitting with it so far and practicing obviously in the pre‑season with it.  Like I said, it would definitely allow players to hit a few more winners, get more on it.  I like to play with a bit of spin, so hopefully that will help the ball whizz through the air.
So much depends on the conditions, whether it's hot or cold, whether the sun is out.  There's so many different factors that can affect the conditions in Melbourne.  I guess it depends on daytoday.

Q.  Any major change that's taken place with the coaching team?
SAM STOSUR:  Look, I'm trying to play the same way.  It's one of those things we're trying to fine tune some areas of my game.  I think as time goes on, we have more weeks together, more weeks where I'm playing matches, we kind of see exactly what needs to improve, what you do well, any of that, then it kind of becomes a little bit easier, you know, to make different changes.
But I'm really pleased with the way it's gone so far with Miles.  I'm enjoying my time on court, the way that things have gone, discussing things after matches, all that kind of thing.  I feel like we're on the same wavelength, which is obviously a big plus.  Yeah, looking forward to hopefully spending a lot of time with him in the future.

Q.  Is that a significant thing, trying to enjoy time on the court rather than feel the pressure?
SAM STOSUR:  I think that's a big thing.  I think if you can relax and do all those things, you don't feel that pressure, you obviously allow yourself to play your best tennis.
Yeah, that's what I'm trying to do.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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