Newks 15: another solid season for Stosur
In the lead up to next week's Newcombe Medal, we review the impressive 2015 seasons of our six finalists. Today we feature enduring champion Sam Stosur.
With her nomination for the 2015 Newcombe Medal, Sam Stosur has further extended her record as the most decorated player in the medal’s history.
Nominated five times and having won the prestigious award on three occasions, Stosur finds herself as a finalist yet again after an impressive season that saw her record her seventh straight top 30 finish.
Stosur won two WTA titles in 2015 and improved at the Grand Slams as the year progressed, reaching the third round at Roland Garros and Wimbledon before making it into the last 16 at the US Open.
“It’s nice to be nominated again,” Stosur said of the award recognising Australia’s most outstanding elite player and ambassador for the sport.
“Obviously I’ve been nominated almost every year and have won it a couple of times. I guess to be back in that position is a good feeling, to still be up there in Australian tennis.”
Australia’s No.1 female endured a lukewarm start to the season yet flourished, as she typically does, once on European red clay.
A third-round finish at Madrid was followed by a title-winning run in Strasbourg; it was excellent preparation for the French Open, where she breezed into the third round before running into perpetual stumbling block Maria Sharapova, the No.2 seed.
After reaching the third round at the All England Club – a great result given her historic struggles on grass – Stosur then built an eight-match winning streak which comprised her second title of the season in Bad Gastein and a trip to the semis in Washington DC.
Despite falling to eventual champ Sloane Stephens, it showed her game was in good touch on US hard courts. That was later confirmed when she stormed into the second week at Flushing Meadows, falling to another eventual champion in Flavia Pennetta.
Stosur finished with a semifinal in Hong Kong, capping a year that featured victories over Lucie Safarova, Angelique Kerber and Sara Errani.
“Definitely my two titles in Strasbourg and Bad Gastein (were highlights). Also making the fourth round at the US Open – in the end I lost to the winner. I thought I played well there at a Slam where I thought I could do well,” Stosur assessed.
“Strasbourg I went last minute as a wildcard. I had played well in Madrid but lost early in Rome and wanted to play a bit more on clay because it’s a surface I feel comfortable on. To change my schedule and make the most of it was great, and I played some really good quality opponents there and came through several three-setters, and up until then I’d struggled in three-set matches. That win was great to get myself out of tricky situations.
“And then Bad Gastein, that was rewarding because I completely changed my normal schedule to play more on clay (following Wimbledon) … to reap the benefit for a decision like that was rewarding.”
Stosur is currently training ahead of the 2016 season, yet will take time out to attend Monday night’s glittering Newcombe Medal, Australian Tennis Awards ceremony.
Taking away the top honour would be another feather in the cap for one of Australian tennis’s most enduring and popular champions.
The Newcombe Medal, Australian Tennis Awards will be held at Melbourne’s Crown Palladium on Monday 23 November. Watch the live stream of the event on Tennis Australia’s YouTube channel.