The Roar
The Roar


Stosur's biggest challenge is overcoming mental fragility

Roar Guru
24th January, 2009

The Australian pair of Jelena Dokic and Sam Stosur has done us proud in the women’s draw of the Australian open. However, for Stosur to become a top class player, she must overcome her mental fragility.

In terms of actual ability, I think she matches it with the top players.

Performances against Elena Dementieva in the Open and Serena Williams in the Sydney International are testament to this.

However, both those matches revealed glaring weaknesses in her mental composure.

In the match against Serena Williams, Stosur had the edge and had four match points (three of which were consecutive). Williams looked out of sorts, but Stosur was unable to finish her off, even missing a volley into the open court.

To be frank, she choked.

When Williams eventually won that game, you sensed she was going to claim an undeserving victory. And she did.

It was a similar case against Dementieva.

Up 5-2 in the first, she looked poised to win the set. But again, she was unable to finish it off with Dementieva winning the tie break.


The same thing happened again in the second set. After going down a break she broke back, but again Stosur couldn’t hold her service game when she really needed to.

It was unforced errors from her, rather than winners from Dementieva. She lost her last three service games and consequently the match.

Perhaps she just went off the boil in those matches.

But the fact that she faulted when she had the momentum at critical stages yet she couldn’t make it count, suggesting the pressure got to her.

It is mental composure that separates the top ten players from the rest of the top 50.

Stosur needs to gain mental composure to reach her potential as singles player, and she needs to gain it before age starts affecting her physical ability.