Sport Stosur: It could be my last Aussie Open
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Sam Stosur reckons the knees are sore but the heart is still willing as she gears up for what she concedes may be her final tilt at the Australian Open next year.
The 37-year-old Australian great reports that she started training again on Wednesday, preparing for what she hopes will be a "big summer" that may centre on perhaps one last crack at both the singles and doubles at Melbourne Park.
Talking to reporters in Melbourne, the former US Open champion admitted that she hoped to be competing in her 20th main draw appearance at her home Open in January.
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"Chances are it probably will be the last time," Stosur said.
"I've just done my first day back training today. I'm seeing how things go.
"I had a little run around in preparation and lead-up to a big summer hopefully.
"My knees are a bit sore, but I actually hit pretty well considering I've had two weeks off."
It seems as if the Brisbane stalwart's enthusiasm for the sport remains undimmed.
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"I always love getting back on court. Pre-seasons can be a bit brutal, but I've done enough of them now that it doesn't take too long to get back into it," she said.
Indeed, 2022 will be effectively be the 22nd year of her distinguished professional career which is still flourishing in doubles, even if gathering even the occasional singles win these days has become a minefield.
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After winning her opening round contest against young Australian Destanee Aiava last year, Stosur failed to win any of her subsequent eight tour-level singles matches in 2021.
Yet she was still a force to be reckoned with in doubles as she took the US Open title and reached the end-of-season WTA finals with Zhang Shuai.
It is the fate of Zhang's Chinese colleague Peng Shuai which is currently concentrating the minds of Stosur and her colleagues.
Concerns still surround Peng's well-being after a long public absence since she accused a former senior politician of sexually assaulting her.
The only sightings of the 35-year-old have been the orchestrated video call with Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, and a release of videos from Chinese state media, which have not stopped the WTA continuing to press for proof that she's okay.
"It's a terrible story, what is unfolding with Peng Shuai," said Stosur, who goes back a long way with the Chinese player, with the pair having played 10 times in singles on tour and many more times in doubles.
"From the players' point of view and the tour, we just want her to be safe and hopefully everything is OK, but things are unfolding and we just have to wait and see how that plays out.
"We are all thinking of her and hoping that everything will be OK."
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