The Northern Territory news Tue 6 Jan 2015
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TUESDAY JANUARY 6 2015 SPORT 35 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA Calm Stosur belies inner turbulence SPORTS psychologists will never go out of business while there are tennis matches like the one which strained Sam Stosurs emotions so raw at Pat Rafter Arena on Sunday night. In a match which became painful to watch for Australians wanting her to do better on home soil almost as much she does, Stosur lost to opponent Varvara Lepchenko from match point up at 5-1 in the third set. There were telltale signs of anxiety in a cascade of six games which sent the Gold Coaster out of another Australian tournament including a tightness in movement, facial anguish and uncertainty. What happened next was interesting to anyone intrigued by how athletes think and how they react publicly to victory and defeat. For 99 per cent of that match Im really happy with the way that I played, a composed Stosur told reporters. There are lots of good things that I can take away from tonight that I feel like have been a major improvement on some of my other first rounds in Australia. I think she played a fantastic last set from that position (1-5 behind). I dont feel like I did too much wrong even from that point. It did not look that way, its fair to say, to everyone. Tour nament in siders say she did not hold back the tears for long after she left the interview room, on a path which will be lead to the Sydney International from Sunday. Theres no nicer person than Sam Stosur, a Grand Slam champion who deserves our support lets keep getting behind her, urged Geoff Masters, who coached the 30-yearold in her junior years at the Queensland Academy of Sport. Thats the thing. No one takes any joy from being critical of Stosur, except the social media jockeys who would shoot Bambi and then rue not coming up with a more painful ending. I read Stosurs media conference quotes to sports psychologist Andrea Furst, who worked with the QAS, including tennis players, between 2002-07. Furst lives in London now, working with Olympic champion Sally Pearson, among others, soon with British Hockey. Thats what youd hope for her to say publicly. The review is quite accurate, Furst said decisively. She is doing the right thing in public because she is getting a tough time and has had a tough time playing in Australia for the last few years. She doesnt do it all the time, but she is more (given) to doing it in Australia. There is a 1 per cent where she has been unable to finish it off after she had done a decent job before then. As with her or any athlete, Im assuming she goes back to her team and said, OK, how do we work on this. You want the process of playing your best tennis to lead to the outcome, which is the win. Stosur has tried various strategies and schedules to help her perform better at the Australian Open. But in the six years since she first entered the worlds top 20, Stosurs normally ultra-competitive hardcourt game has won her 10 matches at the Australian Open and she has made the fourth round once. Her six career titles have all been won overseas, including the day she conquered her nerves and Serena Williams in a straight-sets US Open final. Stosur beat four top-10 players last year, but in Madrid, Paris, Connecticuts New Haven and Beijing. So how would a sports psychologist try to find a circuit breaker in Australia? It depends on the behaviours you see and sometimes an athlete can be so stuck its hard to change, Furst said. Ill speak about Sam di rectly on this because I have seen it before and seen it before in others. By PAUL MALONE Gajdosova poster girl for net gains made by European converts JARMILA Gajdosova was born and bred in Slovakia, represents Australia in tennis, is engaged to an American and is likely to spend more time training in Florida. If tennis is one of the most international of sports, Gajdosova is your woman. All three women claimed as Australian in the second round at the Brisbane International came to the country from Europe because there was greater support for personal coaching and other tennis-related services. Wildcards Gajdosova, from Slovakia, and Ajla Tomljanovic, from Croatia, were joined as first round winners by qualifier Daria Gavrilova, a Russian import. Gajdosova, 27, is the only one of the three regarded as Australian by the WTA because she has held Australian citizenship for several years. But all three will represent Australia at the Australian Open under Grand Slam rules willing to acknowledge residency status. Gajdosova yesterday recovered from a heavy fall on a slippery surface, jarring her right wrist, and a rain delay to turn back Chinas Shuai Zhang 6-4, 6-1. Rain intervened at 4-all in the first set and Gajdosova swept to a win which puts her up against second seed Ana Ivanovic in the second round. The tenacious Gavrilova, a former top junior from Russia, beat American Alison Riske 7-5, 6-3. Coached by Queens lander Nicole Pratt in Melbourne, the 20-year-old will play the winner of a first-round match between third seed Angelique Kerber and Frances Caroline Garcia. In May, Gajdosova was engaged to Adam Wolfe, a US Marine pilot. He left Brisbane last Saturday for some training at his base in Virginia and he will be moving to Pensacola (in Florida), she said. I will be based in Florida a bit because unfortunately he cant travel for the next three years. Ill be pretty much where he is on the base and be asked to follow the rules. Im hoping for (a wedding) somewhere near the end of the year, but its still very much open because my job is really busy and his is as well. By PAUL MALONE Experience helps, but if youre not hitting the ball well and youre not moving well, doesnt matter how much experience you have, he said. If the opponent hit the ball faster, more quicker, doesnt matter if you have more experience than the opponent, no? Thats in a sport that you have to be quick, you have to be dynamic, you have to play with no mistakes, and thats the things that I need to do to have success again. Every feeling is new, every year is new. Experience can help you in some moments, but in general, every year there is new feelings and new things that you have to learn to try to keep doing well. World No.1 Novak Djokovic heads the Qatar field and will face compatriot Dusan Lakovic in the opening round. Like Nadal, Djokovic will attempt to overcome rustiness by contesting doubles with fellow Serb Filip Krajinovic. World No.7 Tomas Berdych and No.10 David Ferrer round out a star-studded field. STARTS JANUARY 19 Rafael Nadal returns the the serve of Stanislas Wawrinka at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship Picture: MARWAN NAAMANI