Turned Pro: 1999
Highest Rank: 4 (February 21 2011)
Current Rank: 5
Plays: Right handed, double handed backhand
Career Prize Money: $10, 379, 252 USD
Sam, a former world number 1 doubles player, was born in Brisbane, Australia before moving to Adelaide where she started playing tennis after being given a tennis racket for Christmas. Sam joined the Australian Institute of Sports at 16 and has long been known for her huge serve.
In 2005 in Sydney Sam powered passed Elena Dementieva before falling to Alicia Molik in the final. Despite her ability Stosur struggled to create waves on the circuit and lacked form for much of 2007 before she was diagnosed with Lyme Disease which is transmitted through tic bites. Sam was forced to work hard to overcome the illness which affects muscle function, heart and neurological function and fatigue levels and wasn’t able to properly return to the circuit until May 2008.
Unfortunately, Sam developed a reputation for choking under pressure, an issue that was evident in her 2009 first round Medibank match against Serena Williams where she was serving with three match points before she crumbled and handed over the match. Her beautiful groundstrokes and huge serves should have made her deadly on the tour but the mental side of her game held her back.
After she spent some time with pro-surfer Layne Beachley, later saying Beachley was pivotal to changes in her attitude. As a result she claimed the Osaka title, her first on the WTA tour, as well as making a dash to the 2009 French Open semifinals. At Roland Garros in 2009 she defeated Francesca Schiavone in the first round who would get her revenge and outplay a nervous Stosur in the French finals the following year.
Her 2010 results have been more consistent: Indian Wells semi’s, Miami and Madrid quarters, finalist in Stuttgart and winner of the Family Circle Cup.
When she returned to Paris in 2010 she was drawn in the ‘quarter of death’ alongside Maria Sharapova, Justine Henin and Serena Williams. Sam had a chance to serve out her match against Serena in straight sets but wasn’t able to contain her nerves, eventually closing out the match in three sets before ultimately losing in the finals to Schiavone.
While Sam wasn’t able to maintain her form when she stepped on to grass, falling (along with Schiavone) in her first round match at Wimbledon, she moved into the top five, mostly because Elena Dementieva didn’t go to London after injuring herself in Paris forfeiting her points from the year before it, and with it the ranking.
In 2011 Sam started with a disappointing showing at the Australian Open and struggled to find confidence and form throughout the early stages of the season. Stosur was beaten in the third round of the French Open by Gisela Dulko and saw her ranking drop to number 10 in the world. A disappointing first round loss at Wimbledon saw Sam’s confidence continue to be shaken but she made the finals in the women’s doubles draw.
Sam then made some progress on the American hard courts, first making the finals of the Rogers Cup and then the quarters in Cincinnati.
In 2011 Sam Stosur captured her first Grand Slam – the US Open – after she played some of the best tennis of her life to beat Serena Williams in straight sets 6-2, 6-3. Impressively Sam showed enough mental strength to ignore some of Serena’s mid match antics, something that has thrown her in the past.
2012 started poorly for Sam again as she struggled under the pressure of performing to her home audience. Sam fell early in Brisbane, Sydney and also in the first round of the Australian Open and has since failed to claim a title or consistently appear deep in major tournaments.