Stosur eyes Olympic turnaround on grass
Originally published on: 24/07/12 00:00
In 10 visits to the All England Club, the world No.5 has never gone beyond the third round. Her latest disappointment came when she was beaten in the second round last month by Arantxa Rus, the world No.72. At least that was an improvement on her two previous appearances, which saw Stosur lose to Melinda Czink (world No.262) in 2011 and to Kaia Kanepi (world No.80) in 2010.
It is not as though Stosur cannot perform on grass. The 28-year-old Australian has reached the semi-finals at Eastbourne on three occasions and has a fine record in doubles at Wimbledon. She was runner-up in 2008 (with Lisa Raymond), in 2009 (with Rennae Stubbs) and in 2011 (with Sabine Lisicki) and has reached the semi-finals on two other occasions.
So how is it that the 2011 US Open champion regularly flops in singles at the All England Club? “I don’t know, I’d love to be able to answer that question really clearly,” Stosur said. “I get to Wimbledon and I can’t seem to be able to put it together.
“I think it’s maybe one of those places where you obviously want to do really well and having that good form going into it you think that’s going to keep rolling, but I’ve always got tight when I start playing. I think it happens mostly because I don’t feel totally comfortable on the grass. It’s not a surface that I naturally play well on.
“When you feel that extra bit of pressure those things don’t come naturally and the shots that I usually like to build my game around aren’t the ones that you typically need to use on grass. You don’t get as much effect with a kick serve on grass, you work on more of a sliced serve, with heavy top spin. Even though the grass isn’t as fast as it used to be there are still basic nuts and bolts about playing grass-court tennis.”