Sam Stosur has paid tribute to her family and friends after her first round exit from the Australian Open women’s doubles draw with Alize Cornet at the hands of Chan Hao-Ching and Zhaoxuan Yang.
Although the second set was a see-sawing affair – both pairs breaking the other on several occasions – Stosur and Cornet never once led as they were knocked out in straight sets 6-3, 6-4.
In a special courtside interview not usually afforded to the losing pair, Stosur said she was fighting back tears as she spoke to Casey Dellacqua – who herself was welling up.
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“I feel like I’m about to cry now I’m looking at you cry,” Stosur said.
“It was a really hard decision. I love playing. I love competing. I love playing in front of you guys.
“A crowd like this makes it feel strange you don’t want to do it any more, but you get to a point where the other things become a little more difficult.
“I’ve loved … my run travelling, playing, doing everything I’ve been able to do. I wanted to finish here at home, I wanted to finish in Melbourne. This year was it.
“It’s bittersweet but thank you all for coming out here. It’s been really special.”
There were glimpses of the Stosur of old – down 30-0 and fighting to save the first set, Stosur sent a forehand rocketing into the backhand corner for a winner.
“It’s a killer forehand that Sam has utilised throughout her career,” Nicole Pratt said on commentary.
Stosur played the match in front of her partner Liz Astling and their daughter Evie, as well as her parents.
“I will probably see them a little bit more now. They’ve made lots of sacrifices when I was younger to allow me to follow my dreams.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything more from mum and dad … they’ve been my biggest supporters. I thank them for everything they’ve been able to do.
“Also my own family now, thank you for supporting me and letting me continue this journey for as long as I have. I love you guys.”
Stosur is still on the mixed doubles draw. She and partner Matthew Ebden will take on Demi Schuurs and Nikola Mektic tomorrow.
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