at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
New York – Defending champion Samantha Stosur enters the US Open confident but not feeling like she needs to win the crown again to prove her first Grand Slam title was not a fluke.
The 28-year-old Australian has not won a title since claiming her first Grand Slam crown last year by stunning Serena Williams in the final on the Arthur Ashe Stadium hardcourts.
“Even if I don't win the tournament I don't think it was a fluke anyway,” Stosur said on Saturday. “It was one of those things. Of course you want to come back and do just as well as the year before.
“I have been trying hard and training well, and really looking forward to this year's tournament as well.”
Stosur, whose other titles include a 2009 Osaka triumph and 2010 Charleston crown, was a runner-up at Doha earlier this year and a semi-finalist at the French Open in her best form since her triumph at Flushing Meadows.
“I wish I had done better this year but for whatever reason it goes the way it goes,” she said. “I think I have done everything I can to get these good results. It's about putting it together at the right time.
“Hopefully it's just a matter of time. I've been able to do my practice and training and everything else I need to get done to make sure that I can I play as best I can. You don't come back to defend a Grand Slam every year.”
Seventh-seeded Stosur accepts fourth seed Williams is the player to beat again after her 14th career Grand Slam win at Wimbledon in July and her Olympic gold medal earlier this month at London.
“I think Serena is probably the favourite coming in given her recent form. No matter who you are, I don't think you can really deny that,” said Stosur.
But the Australian has a 6-3 career record against Williams and the knowledge she can do it on the sport's biggest stage should they again meet in the final.
“It was definitely up there with one of the best matches I've played given the court we were on, the stage, the final at the US Open against Serena, 9-11,” Stosur said.
“Other matches come to mind where I feel like you could not miss a ball. I don't think I had one of those days, but I am very proud of the way that I did play given all the circumstances and all that put together.”
Stosur returned to Arthur Ashe Stadium to practice on Thursday for the first time since winning the title.
“That was really nice to walk back out onto that court. Little things kind of pop into your mind as you're walking out there again,” she said.
“The forehand winner I hit on match point – that's what probably came back first.”
Stosur, who plays Croatia's Petra Martic in her first match and would face a qualifier in round two, could meet China's Li Na in the fourth round and top seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in the quarter-finals.
Stosur and Azarenka are among seven different women who have won the past seven Grand Slam titles.
“It's not because the competition is lacking or anything like that,” Stosur said. “There's not one dominant standout player. It doesn't mean everyone is rubbish. We're all very competitive and everyone is playing extremely well.” – Sapa-AFP