Todd Talks: Stosur deserves more credit
By far Australia's most successful player in the past six years, Todd Woodbridge believes Sam Stosur warrants more plaudits for her achievements and feels she can be a force at the upcoming US Open.
I can’t tell you how often I’m asked: “What’s up with Sam Stosur? Not doing very well is she?”
Well, last night Sam Stosur won her 500th career singles match on the WTA tour, an achievement not bad for someone not doing really well!
I think it’s time we acknowledged we have an incredibly accomplished player that by virtue of her quiet nature doesn’t get the respect she deserves.
Respect by definition is a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by his or her abilities, qualities, or achievements.
If this is the case, then Sam is without doubt one of the most accomplished female athletes in Australian sport, not just tennis.
Let’s just take a moment to reflect on some of her achievements.
Over the past six years Sam has reached a career high ranking of world No.4, spent three consecutive years in the top 10, five in the top 20 and currently is world No.21.
She remains – as she has for the past six years uninterrupted – Australia’s No.1 ranked player, either female or male.
Throw in eight WTA career singles titles, including a Grand Slam victory at the US Open in 2011, as well as her runner-up appearance at Roland Garros in 2010. Between 2009 and 2012, she reached at least the semifinal stage in Paris three times.
In representing Australia she has competed at three Olympic games and with one year to go looks set to make that four. She has player 12 years of Fed Cup having won more singles matches than any other player.
Apart from Lleyton Hewitt reaching world No.1, no other male or female player comes close to achieving such consistent results over the past 15 years in Australian tennis.
The past 18 months haven’t been her finest, but in the quest to keep improving Sam actually got away from what has made her so good.
In trying to expand her game she lost the two weapons that have driven her achievements; the one-two punch of hard kicking serves followed up by ripping forehands.
Since re-uniting with coach Dave Taylor three months ago there have been two tournament victories, third rounds at Roland Garros and Wimbledon and a return to the consistency that can see her go deep in the majors once again.
With the US Open only a few weeks away there is an enormous amount of focus and pressure on Serena Williams as she looks set to create her own piece of tennis history by winning the calendar-year Grand Slam.
The reality is that there are only a handful of women who have the ability to stop Serena, and Stosur is one of them.
To beat Serena you have to match and absorb the power of her game and not be distracted by the spectacle and theatrics that come with Williams’ matches – both of which Stosur can do – and with the combination of high-bouncing hard courts, hot humid weather and light balls, it has been shown to provide the perfect playing conditions for Sam’s game style.
And let’s not forget, Sam was the last player to beat Serena in New York, back in the 2011 final. Williams has since won three straight US Opens.
Don’t be so surprised if we see another stunning upset in September.