“I’m probably very close to crying, having a really awful night,” Stosur said after becoming the first women’s US Open winner in 45 years of professional tennis to subsequently fall in the first round of the Australian Open.
“But I think you feel what you feel, whether it’s good or bad. It’s hard to suppress those emotions when it means so much to you.”
Stosur’s Open campaign lasted just 91 minutes before the 27-year-old bowed out with a 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 defeat to Romania’s world No 59 Sorana Cirstea, a player she’d crushed in straight sets in both their previous meetings.
The world No 5’s unscheduled exit continues her miserable record at her home grand slam. In 10 visits, Stosur has managed just 14 wins and she’s only twice progressed beyond the third round.
But having reigned in New York last September just two months after succumbing in the first round at Wimbledon, Stosur refuses to believe she won’t one day achieve her dream of winning the Australian Open.
“The last few years I got beaten by players who definitely played better than me on the day,” Stosur said. “Third, fourth rounds obviously aren’t where you want to go, but certainly better than a first round. All you can do is come back next year and keep trying.
“Obviously, it’s not hard to improve on a first-round loss. I’ve got the rest of the year obviously. Of course I want to do better here, but I can’t think that, `oh, because this month didn’t go the way I wanted it to, the year is shot either’.
“It’s not going to deter me from doing what I want to do. If anything, it will probably spur me on to try even harder and do even more.”
But carrying the hopes of a nation, Stosur conceded she may have tried too hard to deliver.
“Of course I wanted to do very well here. You want it to come right now,” she said. “That’s sport. Unfortunately you can’t pick and choose when it’s all going to happen for you.”
After a second-round loss in Brisbane and first-round demise in Sydney, Stosur arrived in Melbourne down on confidence and openly admitting to struggling under the weight of expectation.
“It affects you physically,” she said. “That’s probably the easiest sign for the outside people to see … to see that you tighten up, your shoulders do get tight, you don’t hit through the ball.
“When anyone’s nervous, I think the first thing that goes is your footwork. You don’t move your feet as well. Once that breaks down, it’s easy for other things to start breaking down.”
Meanwhile, a newly chilled-out Jelena Dokic is eyeing a return to the world top 20 for the first time in eight long years.
Dokic made it look easy against Russian Anna Chakvetadze. For a player often noted in her prime as much for her brooding intensity as her stunning strokeplay, Dokic cut a remarkably relaxed figure in the aftermath of her 6-2 6-1 win over Chakvetadze.
Both Dokic and the Russian are former top five players who have fallen on hard times in recent years. And the Australian can now see a way back to the pointy end of the world rankings.
“First of all you want to be healthy and have a full year with no injuries,” said Dokic, whose current world ranking stands at 64.
“If I can do that I think it will be a good year, so that’s the most important thing at the moment. If all goes well, hopefully top 20.”
A key figure in the 28-year-old Dokic’s late-career resurgence is new coach Louise Pleming, who has the happy knack of keeping things in perspective.
“You have to just chill a little bit,” Dokic said. “Not just me, but things in general and things come a lot easier when you do that.
“That’s something I’ve been on working with Louise because you’re going to have bad days. You can’t play well 365 days a year.
“Sometimes you have to win ugly but sometimes you’re also going to lose matches.”