Green and gold calm Stosur’s nerves
Home-court advantage suddenly sits well with Samantha Stosur ahead of Australia's Fed Cup semi-final with Germany in Brisbane this weekend.
Home-court advantage suddenly sits well with Samantha Stosur ahead of Australia’s Fed Cup semi-final with Germany in Brisbane this weekend.
Stosur has sometimes struggled under the weight of expectation at her home grand slam but the former US Open champion claims there is a “different feeling” wearing the green and gold Fed Cup team colours Down Under.
The hard-hitting Queenslander would be forgiven for feeling pressure lining up on her home court as Australia bid to make November’s final and add to their seven Fed Cup crowns but first in 40 years.
However, Stosur oozed calm ahead of Australia’s first Fed Cup semi-final since 1993 while rubbing shoulders with easygoing teammates Casey Dellacqua, Ashleigh Barty and Storm Sanders.
“It’s definitely a different feeling these weeks compared to any other tournament,” the world No.19 said.
“You are in a team and do everything together. It’s something we all enjoy.
“You only do it a couple of times a year so you have to make the most of these opportunities.”
Asked how she would cope with home-court pressure in light of her past Australian Open disappointments, Stosur said: “We all like playing on this court, in front of a great crowd and family and friends – that’s what I am looking forward to.”
There are not many opportunities in a player’s career to make their own slice of history. That’s the significance of a tie like this.
Stosur has shown her commitment to the Fed Cup cause by disrupting her French Open preparation and flying home for the hardcourt tie at Pat Rafter Arena.
Sanders, 19, and 17-year-old Barty were not even born when Australia played their last semi-final in 1993.
Yet Australian captain Alicia Molik is already daring to dream of hosting the final if they win through to the decider along with the Czech Republic.
“I have looked ahead,” she said. “It would be an amazing experience. There are not many opportunities in a player’s career to make their own slice of history. That’s the significance of a tie like this.”
Germany boast a superior team on paper with world No.7 Angelique Kerber, recently crowned Charleston champion and ex-top 10 player Andrea Petkovic as well as dangerous doubles pairing Julia Goerges and Anna-Lena Groenefeld.
However, Barty made three grand slam doubles finals in 2013 with Dellacqua, who is also enjoying her highest singles ranking in almost six years after surging to No.53 in the world.
Molik stuck with the same side that downed an understrength Russia 4-0 in the first round in Hobart in February.
“We have an advantage ranking-wise,” Petkovic said. “But with the travel and the jetlag, I think it is 50-50.”