Former US Open champion Sam Stosur admits she will be a “blubbering mess” when she plays the final singles match of her career at the Australian Open.
Stosur has been given a wildcard entry for what will be her 20th Grand Slam on home soil, an equal record number of appearances that she now shares with Lleyton Hewitt.
The Aussie’s swansong will also be her 69th Grand Slam singles appearance which is a record for any Australian player.
The future Hall of Famer isn’t putting too much pressure on herself as she looks to enjoy the moment before bowing out.
“Yeah, I'm excited. It's great to get started again and have another opportunity to play here,” Stosur said in her press conference at Melbourne Park.
“Obviously it feels a little bit different being my last one…I want to just really enjoy the moment and be out there and have some fun with it and just play well. The goal is to play well, and if I win, great. If I lose, so be it.
“It’s kind of one of those times where you can go out there and be like, there’s really no pressure, it’s just about going out there and playing.”
Stosur has well and truly earned her curtain call at the Australian Open after a 20+ year career that has seen her claim nine singles and 26 doubles titles, including a US Open triumph in both disciplines.
When Stosur lifted the US Open trophy after defeating Serena Williams, she broke a decade long Australian Grand Slam drought that dated back to Hewitt’s US Open victory in 2001. Fitting that they hold the record for the most Australian Open appearances.
Her most recent triumph at the US Open with doubles partner Shuai Zhang prompted the Aussie legend to continue plying her trade on the doubles circuit for another year, but only for the big events of course.
“Shuai and I have talked about…we’ve got like a preliminary sort of schedule in mind,” Stosur said.
“It's really just the big events, trying to play Indian Wells, Miami, your lead-up to Slams, and that's probably about it.
“I’m going to play this year like it is [my last], and if something changes and I end up being able to do more, then great. But I think realistically that probably '22 is it.”
As for what the future holds, Stosur has built a wealth of knowledge over the years that she would like to pass on to the next generation of Aussie tennis players.
“I definitely would like that (coaching) to be part of something that I'm involved in afterwards. I enjoy, I guess, trying to pass on knowledge to my peers,” Stosur said.
“I think there's obviously a lot of information I've been able to gather over my career that can be really useful to some younger players.
“That is certainly something I'm definitely interested in doing post-playing and even now. I enjoy that side of tennis now for sure, and I think I've cared too much about the sport to not want to be involved in that sort of way.”
Stosur has been a mainstay of the Australian summer of tennis for the past 20 years and deserves every bit of adoration and acclamation Aussie fans can give her before an emotional goodbye.
“I’ll be emotional and probably be a blubbering mess. I’ll put it out there right now, and I’ll probably be in tears and everything else,” Stosur said.
“It’s obviously been a huge part of my life, this sport, and my career and something I’m very proud of.”