Chiasso, Switzerland, 20 April 2013 |

Having been Australia’s top-ranked player for so many years, Sam Stosur is used to the expectation that comes with leading her nation in Fed Cup battles around the globe.

And it’s no different this year in Chiasso, with Stosur drawn to face Stefanie Voegele in the opening singles rubber of Australia’s World Group Play-off tie against Switzerland in the southern Swiss town.

“I seem to play first in a lot of these ties,” she laughed, “so I’m used to that situation. But I’m ready to go, and looking forward to getting out on court and competing again.”

Competing has been difficult for the world No.9 of late, with a troublesome calf injury first rearing its head in March at Indian Wells before again forcing her withdrawal from the WTA event in Charleston just two weeks ago.

But Stosur has assured everyone that her calf is strengthening and causing less pain each day, and after a week of training on the red clay at Tennis Club Chiasso, the Queenslander is fit and focused on returning her nation to the elite eight-nation World Group in 2014.

However, her opponent, the Swiss No.2, is no pushover.

At that same Charleston event, Voegele upset world No.10 Caroline Wozniacki en route to the semifinals at the WTA Premier-level event, a career-best result that boosted her to her highest ever ranking of No.56.

“The last time we played was last year when we played against Switzerland (in Fed Cup) so I guess (she’s) kind of familiar, but it’s a new tie and a new year, and she’s being playing quite well recently so I’ll certainly have to be ready,” Stosur observed.

“She’s one of those players who can play a little bit flashy and hit the ball flat and go for some winners, so you certainly have to be ready to go.

“Hopefully I can play my game and have a good one.”

Stosur’s chances of a good performance have been increased thanks to the relaxed preparation the Aussie team has enjoyed ahead of the tie.

The team environment and accommodation in nearby Lake Como, Italy have combined for a great experience, putting her in the right frame of mind as she approaches her Fed Cup singles battles.

“I think we’re all pretty relaxed. We know what we want get out of this week,” Stosur said.

“But we certainly enjoy it while we’re here. I think we work well as a team and really enjoy the time off we get, such as the afternoons and the dinners.

“When practising we give it 100 per cent, and then we can chill out afterwards, so it’s a nice environment.”

You can follow all the Fed Cup lead-up on Twitter at @TennisAustralia.


Day 1 Saturday 20 April 2013
Stefanie Voegele (SUI) v Sam Stosur (AUS)
Romina Oprandi (SUI) v Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS)
Day 2 Sunday 21 April 2013
Romina Oprandi (SUI) v Sam Stosur (AUS)
Stefanie Voegele (SUI) v Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS)
Timea Bacsinszky/Amra Sadikovic (SUI) v Ash Barty/Casey Dellacqua (AUS)