Nanjing Night Net

Stosur carries nation’s Open hopes on her buff shoulders

JOHN NEWCOMBE believes Samantha Stosur could give the Australian Open ”a shake” in what he rates as one of the most open women’s fields in years.Stosur boasts a career-high ranking of 13 following a breakthrough year in 2009. The Queenslander backed up her French Open semi-final appearance with a first WTA tournament win in Tokyo.No Australian, male or female, has won the national championship since an unseeded Chris O’Neil stunned the tennis world in 1978. Newcombe believes Stosur is Australia’s best chance of finally breaking the drought.”Sam is the only one that has shown during the year that she can do well here,” Newcombe told The Sun-Herald.”That’s a big part of the equation, her self-belief.”She could give it a shake. It’s pretty open there in the ladies at the moment. She might be able to snake her way through.”She knows she can compete with the very best, so with the home crowd, you never know.”Stosur’s career flatlined while she battled a debilitating bout of lyme disease. However, she battled back and spoke of a new-found confidence after lifting her ranking to the cusp of the top 10.”I’m close to top 10 now – anyone up around that mark has a chance of winning [the Australian Open],” Stosur said during the week.The 25-year-old will go into the year’s opening grand slam as the top-ranked Australian, while another local favourite, Alicia Molik, is sweating on a discretionary wildcard from Tennis Australia after she was bundled out of the wildcard play-offs.Newcombe said that compatriot Lleyton Hewitt could provide nuisance value to the big names if the world No. 22 had a favourable draw.”If you take away the top half-dozen guys, Lleyton would feel pretty comfortable playing everyone else in the field,” Newcombe said.”You just hope he gets a good draw. He knows how to win [a grand slam], he knows what it takes. I’m sure he’d love to win the Australian Open, he’s been so close and fallen just short.”You never know. A couple of guys get bumped off, the draw opens up and suddenly he’s right up there.”Newcombe called for Hewitt and his heir apparent Bernard Tomic to bury the hatchet.The pair have not spoken since Wimbledon after falling out over an apparent practice snub. It’s alleged that Tomic rejected a planned practice session with the former world No.1 – in favour of a hit with Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero. Tomic later cited the fact he’d contracted swine flu as the reason behind his pull-out – a claim Hewitt’s manager labelled as ”ridiculous”.Newcombe, the winner of seven singles grand slam titles, said it was time for the pair to resolve their differences. ”Obviously it’s not good if you’ve got two Australians – one who’s been right at the top of the world and another one who’d like to get there – fighting,” he said.”It’s disappointing to see that happen. It would be good if they started talking and put all that behind them.”Newcombe expressed surprise that world No.1 Serena Williams was permitted to play at Melbourne Park following her foul-mouthed tirade against a lineswoman at the US Open.”I think she was lucky to get away with what’s happened to her,” Newcombe said. ”You can’t do that. They used to get away with stuff years ago but you can’t now go up and say those things to a linesperson. If you did that to the referee in soccer you’d be out for a couple of years.”
Nanjing Night Net