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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Stosur Not Intimidated by Williams; Wins First Slam

Sam Stosur of Australia pulled the "upset" over Serena Williams in the finals of the US Open. How did she do this? How, when her competitiveness and toughness have been questioned in the past, was she able to defeat a dominant Williams on her home court? It is a case of emerging self-belief for sure.

The self-belief that Stosur exhibited was impressive. She was aggressive and hit out on the ball. Stosur played her game in the final and stayed focused despite a furious effort by Williams to get back in the second set. She overcame the odds and made Williams press and make many unforced errors. This effort came despite having a bad start of the year. Stosur credits her team and sport psychologist for helping her learn about herself and get through the rough times. Stosur has overcome the mental barriers and reveals in her post-match interview the kind of thought process that enables a player to become a grand slam champion.

You're a real tour professional and a veteran, yet people still talk about Serena and a certain presence or ferocity, intimidation even in some cases. Just talk about her presence and how she's different from other players.
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Oh, well, she's I think probably the best player of at least my generation of playing. I mean, not only is she big in stature and all that, she's got a huge game and obviously has won so many titles.
That presence definitely comes out on the court. I think for sure the first time you play someone like her it's definitely intimidating. She can clean people off the court.

So I think having played her in the past, and like I said before having victories against her, you slowly start to get used to that and kind of becomes more relevant and becomes a bit of the task at hand on that day playing the match.

Any player like her has got that kind of X factor out there. I obviously knew she was in good form during this event and leading into the event. I played her in the final at Toronto, and, you know, even if she hadn't played a tournament before the Grand Slam, you can never count her out.

So I tried. I obviously knew she was playing well, but at the end of the day I just tried to focus on my game and take what I could to the court and hope that it was enough. (, Sept. 11, 2011)

Sam, it was more than enough. You were able to get Serena off of her game and impose your will on the match. Well done!

We can all learn from Stosur's US Open victory. Matches are not won on paper. Draws rarely, if ever, play out the way you would predict it. As a player if you are comparing your self to your opponent you are wasting your time and creating mental barriers. Trust in your game, play your game, and go for your shots.

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