Eight-time Grand Slam champion Sam Stosur predicts a successful period ahead in Australian tennis.
Melbourne, Australia, 24 May 2023 | Leigh Rogers
There are currently eight Australian men ranked inside the world’s top 100 in singles – and a further two within the top 110.
Aleksandar Vukic is the latest to break into the elite top 100, following in the footsteps of Max Purcell earlier this year.
Australian great Sam Stosur expects even more could soon join them.
“I’m sure all the players are looking to what Max has done and Aleks Vukic and trying to get in there with them,” Stosur said.
The numbers are not quite as impactful in the women’s singles game, with Ajla Tomljanovic the lone Australian currently in the world’s top 100. There are, however, six ranked inside the world’s top 160.
Tomljanovic and Daria Saville are both currently sidelined with injury, leaving world No.111 Kimberly Birrell as possibly the only Australian in the women’s singles draw at this year’s Roland Garros.
That number could still rise, with four Aussie women progressing to the second round in the qualifying competition in Paris. This is just the second time this has happened since 1995.
“It’s not ideal, obviously you want more players in the (main) draw,” Stosur said.
“Hopefully we can have some girls qualify, so there will be more.”
Yet Stosur is adamant there is no need for concern, predicting success ahead for Aussie women.
“It’s all cyclical. It goes around in cycles,” Stosur said. “Next year we could have 10 (women playing at Roland Garros), and then this whole year will be all forgotten about. It comes and goes, it really does.”
Australia currently boasts five girls inside the world’s top 100 junior rankings. This includes world No.21 Emerson Jones, the highest-ranked 14-year-old in the world.
With 25-year-old Birrell verging on a top-100 breakthrough on the WTA Tour, Stosur believes this could inspire a rapid resurgence for Australian women.
“Success breeds success,” Stosur said.
“There’s a bunch who have been, for a little while, around 130, 150 and always pushing, but not quite being able to make that next jump.
“I think once they can get into the 100 mark, just inside where they know they are going to be in main draws at Grand Slams, then it only takes one or two matches to totally change your schedule, your year and see what is absolutely possible.”
Main-draw action at Roland…
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