Sam Stosur’s revelation that the Australian Open will be her farewell to tennis has swiftly prompted a deluge of tears and tributes from within the sport.
- Sam Stosur retired from singles after last year’s Australian Open
- The 38-year-old will play doubles with compatriot Matthew Ebden and France’s Alize Cornet at the Australian Open
- She and Ebden reached the final in 2021
Her home grand slam is set to give one of the much-loved greats of the domestic game an emotional send-off following her declaration that her 21st year at the Australian Open, in the two doubles events, will be her last before retirement.
The 38-year-old, winner of the 2011 US Open singles, said on Saturday she was “looking forward to getting on the court one last time in front of my amazing fans, who are the reason I go out there and play the sport I love, and enjoying this wonderful ride one last time”.
“I feel so happy and grateful to have the opportunity to finish playing at my favourite slam – my home slam – in front of my Aussie fans, friends and family,” said Stosur, who finished her singles career at the same event last year.
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“Even though I’ve made the decision to retire from the sport I absolutely love, a small part of me would be happy to keep playing forever.
“I know I’m going to miss playing competitive tennis, all the amazing experiences and emotions that come with being on the tour, and doing what I’ve done for nearly my whole life.
“There are so many stand-out matches, some against legends of the sport, that make me look back and think how grateful I am for my career.”
Her news prompted effusive tributes, particularly from the Aussie female players she has worked with, guided and inspired over the years, headed by the words of friend, former coach and doubles partner Rennae Stubbs.
“I knew this was coming yet here I am, reading your words and crying my eyes out!” Stubbs wrote in response to Stosur’s Instagram post.
“Sam, there isn’t a person on tour that could say a bad word about you.
“Your class, professionalism, dedication and love & respect for the sport, your fellow competitors and the people around you, are unmatched.
“There will be a huge void out there on this crazy tour without you but my god was it a good place when you were in it.
“Watching you go from that unsure kid with talent, to a hall of fame career was a pleasure to witness.
“You have been a role model for so many and you should be beyond proud of that & the player you became but more importantly, the person you are.”
Billie Jean King Cup star Storm Hunter said “we’ve been so lucky to have you as an amazing role model and inspiration Sammy.”
Australian Open officials posted: “Thanks for saving the last dance with us, Sam.”
Stosur will feature with Matt Ebden in the mixed doubles, an event in which they reached the final two years ago, and still has hopes of gaining an eighth women’s grand slam doubles crown alongside France’s Alize Cornet.
“I want to say a huge thank you to my incredible parents Dianne and Tony, my brothers Dominic and Daniel, my partner Liz and daughter Evie, and all the coaches, physios, trainers, doctors, and all my sponsors over the years,” Stosur wrote.