How famous are Sam Stosur’s biceps?
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The Aussie tennis great’s guns have their own Twitter account, @Sam’sBiceps.
“I’m gifted in that way, I guess you could say,” Stosur said this week.
But on Wednesday at the Family Circle Cup, the focus was on Stosur’s heavily wrapped right calf. A calf strain caused her to pull out before the quarterfinals at Indian Wells last month, and limited her practice time heading into the Family Circle Cup.
Would the injury slow down the 29-year-old Stosur, who just celebrated her birthday with a night out at Charleston restaurant FIG? Would it prevent her from adding another Family Circle Cup title to her 2010 crown?
Stosur answered those questions, at least for the moment, with a 6-1, 6-2 clubbing of New Zealand’s Marina Erakovic before an appreciative crowd at Billie Jean King Court on Daniel Island.
Though she was not pushed to any extreme, Stosur showed no ill effects from the injury, slamming five aces at up to 118 mph and winning in just 73 minutes.
“So far, so good,” Stosur said of the offending calf. “I already iced it, and I’ll go back to see the trainers. But it felt good out there. Couldn’t really complain.”
Stosur’s fearsome forehand was on fine display, and she might have even turned it up a notch in an effort to keep the match short.
“I think for sure I probably had maybe a bit more of an aggressive mindset,” she said. “It helps, in that that’s the way I like to play anyway. But I
certainly went for my serve a lot,and whenever I had the opportunity I really tried to get the ball off the court. It probably helped me kind of think, OK, this is going well and I’ve got to keep at it.”
Earlier this week, Stosur called her 6-0, 6-3 win over Vera Zvonareva in the 2010 Family Circle Cup finals “the best nine games of my life.” She won the first nine games of that match, taking the first set in just 18 minutes in a jaw-dropping display.
“It’d be nice if you could wake up every day and play like that,” she said.
In many ways, Stosur has spent the last two years trying to get back to that level. She peaked at the 2011 U.S. Open, defeating Serena Williams in the finals, becoming the first Australian woman to win the Open since Margaret Court in 1973.
But she failed to win a tournament in 2012, went out early in two majors, and then after ankle surgery last December lost in the second round at the Australian Open in January.
“I think it was just tricky,” she said. “It was a totally different experience for me. It was the best moment of my life, career-wise and I enjoyed every single second of it.
“... You kind of want to click your fingers and and pick up from where you left off, and it didn’t happen. So then, you feel like there is a major letdown.”
With her head back together, Stosur’s biggest concern this week is that calf. She will get a 19-year-old qualifier, Eugenie Bouchard of Canada, in the third round and is on track to face No. 2 seed Caroline Wozniacki in the semifinals.
“I’ll take it day by day,” she said. “I mean, it’s all great, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself and think, ‘Now you can go out and do what you would normally do.’
“So I certainly want to keep doing the right things as far as getting treatment and then wake up (today) and hopefully it will all be fine.”