Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Q. Did you realize how close you were to having a golden set?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Yeah, I knew at 4‑Love, 40‑Love that I hadn't missed a point and the match had been going pretty quick and obviously in my favor. It did pop into my head for a split second. Then I hit the double fault and it was erased and I was quickly on with the next point.
Q. The last year you have had to deal with increased expectations from the public. I guess just talk about the pressure of defending a Grand Slam. I mean, do you feel like this is more or less pressure than let's say the Australian Open this year, or is it the same amount and you've just learned how to deal with it better over the last seven months?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Yeah, to be honest, I don't know if there is necessarily more pressure to go out and have to defend. It's a new year, a new tournament. Of course you want to, but at the end of the day you can't think that, you know, that's the goal. But of course you want to win, but again, playing here compared to Australia, it's just different. I love playing at home, but there is that increased, I guess, expectation. You know, you're in the spotlight a bit more back home and you see yourself on TV and the newspapers even if you're not looking for it. It's unavoidable; whereas here there are other players that are in that spot instead. It's just a different thing, and I think, yeah, the more you go through that, hopefully the better you handle it and the more you get used to and then it doesn't affect you as much.
Q. How did it feel back out on that stadium and playing in front of the crowd again?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: It was fantastic. It was great to get out there again. I felt like I was ready to go. First match up, first day, was a good start, so I certainly won't complain about being out there. It was just, yeah, nice to come back and then I guess play very well today.
Q. Would you say it was pretty much the perfect match for you or is there anything you'd like to work on more?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: No, I mean, I think it was a really good start. Happy with the way I played. I thought I served really well. There isn't really anything that I'd say I have to go out on the practice court and work on. Tomorrow I will go out there and practice and I will be trying, you know, to fine tune a few things. But I think the first round is down, and it was a good start. As the week progresses, then you work on whatever you need to.
Q. Many players say the first round, it's always a little bit spooky, et cetera. Of course you're defending champion. Were you at all worried? Did you ever think, Oh, my gosh what if I go out there and bomb it and I'm out by 1:00 in the afternoon?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: No, that didn't pop into my head, which is a good thing. (Laughter.) Yeah, I think no matter whether you're defending champion or whatever your ranking is and whatever the case is, first rounds you're always going to have a little bit of nerves. Actually today it probably was a little bit, but I felt great. I felt like I prepared as best as what I could. I had done whatever I could. I felt like I was going to go out there and play well. I didn't know I was going to win 1‑1, but it was kind of the way I felt going into it. I felt relaxed and calm about it.
Q. The first 19 points, you're really close at that point to that golden set. I know you said you thought about it, but were you just a little bit nervous or were you saying, I can do this, I can do this? What were you thinking at that point?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: I wasn't trying ‑‑ all of a sudden the goal didn't become to win a golden set. It pops into your head and you think, Oh, that would be cool. You go through and I won a couple more points and then, yeah, I hit that double fault.
Q. Was that nerves or...
SAMANTHA STOSUR: No, I don't think it was nerves. I think it was just 19 appoints in a row. You're going to lose one at some point. It's just the way it goes.
Q. You spoke before about being last year in a good place the entire way through; is that how you felt at the moment?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Yeah, I think probably today kind of carried on from exactly how I was feeling last year. Hopefully that's a good omen. As far as first rounds go, I was very happy with today. Last year I did feel that comfort out there and nothing bothered me; today was along the same lines.
Q. What particularly about this court makes your game so effective here?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: I think, you know, it's a nice pace out there, not too fast. It's quite high bouncing. I think for me using the spin and the way I like to serve, you know, I can use those things really to my advantage. I can get the ball up high straight from the word go. Then you can keep your opponent off balance. I think those couple of things combined made me feel comfortable out there.
Q. How different are night matches out here? You have played in the past at night? How different are they here for the conditions, for the mood of the crowd, and so on as opposed to the day?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Yeah, at night generally can become a little bit slower at nighttime. Obviously you have no sun so the air is a little bit heavier and the heat kind of goes out of the court so you have to maybe work a little bit more. That's why sometimes the spin and the bounce off the court isn't quite as effective, but I think the atmosphere and the crowd and all the noise and everything that then goes along with playing a night match kind of makes up for all that other stuff. Obviously your own adrenaline kicks in and then it doesn't really matter. But I think playing day or night, it's got its advantages for both times.
Q. Some people have hated coming in here at night to play. Does this bother you?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: No, I mean, if you get drawn at nighttime that's fine. Last year I had a lot of not necessarily scheduled night matches, but just the way the scheduling panned out I seemed to be here, the last one here every night. So just obviously I played in those conditions a fair bit, and it didn't bother me last year.
Q. Maybe talk about not being able to avoid the press when you're back in Australia. You know, you take back‑page headlines in various newspapers, but not fairly out‑there headlines about you. Does that sort of stuff affect you when you're on court or when you're preparing for the matches, or how does that actually play out as a detractor for you?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Um, I don't know. I think sometimes you just want to perform at your best no matter where you are. But then when you're at home and maybe there is that little bit extra, I think you can't fall into that trap of, I'm at home so everything had got to be better and better. It's still the same. You don't have to play any better. You're still playing tennis. It's the same sport. Yeah, you can't get too hung up on things. For sure, you know, the Aussie Open I did freeze and it did kind of handcuff me. Since then I haven't fallen into that trap again, so that's a positive sign, I think.
Q. You said the other day you were very pleased with the turn of events since you've come over and have been on the hard courts, feeling good. Is this right now about as good as you've felt about your game in the 2012 season?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Yeah, I think so. I was very happy to get back out on the hard courts. The first tournament in Montreal I lost a tight two‑setter and then played pretty well in Cincy and lost a tight three‑setter and then was able to get a good week of practice before today. So I was definitely pleased to get back out on these courts on a surface where I do feel comfortable. It felt like I hadn't kind of had that, you know, good tennis or kind of good feeling for quite a while, which wasn't ideal. It's just the way it goes. Since being back, it's a good feeling.
Q. Is this an ideal way to open this campaign?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Oh, for sure. A win is a win. I would have taken if it was 6 in the third, but it was 1‑1. That's even better. I'm ready to go for the next one.
Q. Not too many WTA players are named Sam. Can you take a moment and say like what the upside of having a name like that is, is there any downside, or give us on a rainy day a good story about your name.
SAMANTHA STOSUR: No, there is no downside. I'm happy ‑‑ I guess over the course of my life, my career, Samantha got shortened to Sam. The one person that always called me Samantha was my grandfather. It's good. You certainly don't get confused in the locker room. You hear your name and you know it's about you. It's fine.
Q. So is your grandfather a traditionalist and not happy for it to be shortened?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Yeah, I guess he was. My mom and dad only called me Samantha when I was little and did something naughty, so I didn't hear it too often, I don't think. I guess it's one of those names that is not as common.
Q. Lindsay Davenport, when she returned after winning the US Open, she said as she flew over the stadium coming into the New York, her whole body began to tingle. How many times have you been to New York since winning here last year?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: (Shakes head.)
Q. Not at all. What was it like for you? What was it like for you stepping back into New York? Have you had a chance to walk around the grounds to reflect?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: No, I haven't. Actually my practices have been on Ashe and I had a hit out on Louis Armstrong, so I walked through a bit of the crowd then. No, I guess I haven't been able to take all the surroundings in, as such. But for sure being on the plane and as you are landing into JFK, I was like, It's good to be back. Now it kind of feels exciting. You got that bit of a buildup, and then as soon as I got here, it was just a good feeling and excitement to be back to a city that obviously brought me so much last year.
Q. Having that week before the Grand Slam practice here, so many times when you're on the road you're living out of a suitcase at a hotel. Here you can rent an apartment and be in one place for a couple of weeks at a time. Does that make New York feel more like home, and that you feel comfortable and ready to go?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Well, I guess anyplace where you can kind of get in and get settled and get the practice that you want before a tournament, you hope that's going to be the ideal preparation. For me, I got here on Wednesday, I practiced Thursday, Friday, took a day off, had a hit here yesterday, and felt like I was ready. Again, it's a pretty hectic place sometimes, so when you find that down time it's good to take it. Again, you're in New York, so you have to enjoy where you are.
Q. Are you in the city or...
SAMANTHA STOSUR: No, I'm in the city.
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