Stosur heads home to Australia a Grand Slam champ
NEW YORK – Sam Stosur can just picture the moment when Australian Open announcer Craig Willis reads her bio in January at Melbourne.
It will include the words "2011 U.S. Open champion."
The Aussie was already the face of the Grand Slam Down Under, no more so than earlier this year when she was coming off a runner-up finish at the French Open.
"I guess I felt like I had made it, but now I really feel maybe that's all deserving," Stosur said Monday, a day after beating 13-time major champ Serena Williams in straight sets for her first Grand Slam title.
The 27-year-old Stosur couldn't fall asleep after the celebration was over Sunday night, images from the match flashing through her mind.
Walking onto the court for the start of the final. Her last forehand winner landing out of Williams' reach. The trophy presentation.
Running over to her box and realizing just how high up it was, then getting a boost from a security guard to climb in for a round of hugs.
"Did I really just win the U.S. Open?" she kept thinking.
There were also more than 150 emails and text messages to scroll through, from former coachers and old teachers and "a whole bunch of numbers I have no idea who they even are."
When she called her parents, who watched back home in Gold Coast, Australia, her mother said she started crying as soon as the match ended around 8 a.m. local time.
After about an hour and a half of sleep, Stosur woke up early Monday with the help of three alarms for the champion's marathon of appearances. She couldn't even remember exactly what time she's heading home Thursday or which city she's flying into.
With her title will come added confidence and extra pressure in her next Grand Slam — the one back in Australia, where she has never made it past the fourth round.
"I know if I ever make the final of the Australian Open it's going to be much different to how everything was in Paris or even here," Stosur said. "With the hype and just even watching TV, you wouldn't be able to watch TV without seeing myself on there if that happened down there."
Now Stosur's name will be etched onto a trophy alongside tennis greats like her favorite player, Steffi Graf.
Stosur didn't have any opinions on sanctions for Williams over her opponent's outburst early in the second set, a moment that overshadowed the Aussie's near-perfect performance. Energized by the incident and the crowd, Williams seized momentum immediately after that and had double break point against Stosur's serve.
But the 2011 U.S. Open champion fought them both off, and she was back to dominating the rest of the way.
"That's everything you would ever want to do in a moment like that," Stosur said. "I couldn't have dreamed of playing a better match."