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In a New York Minute with Sam Stosur

NEW HAVEN, CT - AUGUST 20: Samantha Stosur of Australia returns a shot to Eugenie Bouchard of Canada during the Connecticut Open at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale on August 20, 2014 in New Haven, Connecticut. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
By Sandra Harwitt
Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Of the five career titles that 30-year-old Sam Stosur has won in her career, the most prestigious is her singles trophy from the 2011 US Open. Stosur’s 6-2, 6-3 win over Serena Williams in the final was monumental for Australian tennis, as she became the first Aussie to win a major since Evonne Goolagong captured the championship at Wimbledon in 1980. Stosur’s best performance this year was a semifinal finish in Hobart, Australia, while her top showing at a Grand Slam in 2014 was reaching the Roland Garros fourth round, where she lost to eventual champion Maria Sharapova. She is playing her opening-round match today against American Lauren Davis. Do you remember your first visit to New York?

Sam Stosur: I do. I think I was 16, playing juniors, and I was terrified. I had seen New York in all the movies and thought it would be the scariest place I’d ever be. Looking back, it probably wasn’t that scary. But to a little 16-year-old, in a group of four with one coach, walking around the streets and sometimes alone, I wasn’t too sure. I’ve grown to realize it’s actually not that bad. I thought it would be dangerous. I remember walking out of the Hyatt, where we were staying, and seeing a Starbucks and trying to think how I would get over there. It’s funny how you have this perception of some places just because of what you see in movies. So how do you feel about New York now that you’ve been here a great deal and are older?

Sam Stosur: I do like the city. It’s crazy. It’s fast. There’s so much going on. But, yeah, I do enjoy my time. I don’t know if I’d be able to live somewhere like that because it might be too much for me. But the time that we have in New York for the tennis and the buildup and the whole atmosphere in the place is exciting. You definitely feel the vibe of the city, and it is an amazing place. Has your feeling for New York changed at all since you won the Open in 2011?

Sam Stosur: I think it’s stayed the same. Since my junior days, when I was terrified of the place, I’ve always enjoyed my time there. But when you’ve had success like that, you might feel a little bit more about the city or the tournament. I like going back there every year, and I’m sure I’ll make it back there even when I’m no longer playing because I think there’s always something new to see there. Have you spent much time in New York being a tourist?

Sam Stosur: I’ve done a few days here and there, but during tournaments -- during the US Open and the lead up to it, a half day or day sightseeing is more tiring to me than going out to the courts and practicing because it’s so exhausting. So it’s that fine line between doing what you want to do and not too much. But over the years, I’ve been able to see a bit. When you’ve had the time to tour around, has anything in particular stood out to you?

Sam Stosur: Yes, I love Central Park. It’s the quieter side of things. I had been there before the whole World Trade Center thing happened, so to be there before and after, it’s quite a different place. It’s not somewhere you go to feel great, but I think it’s quite amazing what they’ve done there and definitely worth going to see. If you could pick one famous New Yorker to give you a tour of their New York, who would you pick and why?

Sam Stosur: I would like to do the whole Seinfeld thing. I love that show, so why not do that? Have you taken in a Broadway show?

Sam Stosur: You know, I never have. I’ve done the theater in London but not New York. Maybe that’s going to be on my list. Many people think New York is a foodie city. Do you have favorite restaurants?

Sam Stosur: I always go to Soba Nippon, which is Japanese. I’ve been down to Mary’s Fish Camp, which I think is in the West Village. It’s a pretty cool place, and they have an unbelievable lobster roll. There are always a few different places we tend to go back to, but it’s always changing. Is it fun to be in a city that’s always open 24 hours a day?

Sam Stosur: Yeah. The year I won I was getting home at all ridiculous hours of the night because I was always playing so late. So it’s nice to be able to get food at 1 or 2 a.m., and it might not be the best food for you, but you can still get something. I remember that my family came over, and my younger brother had never been there before, and he was like, ‘Oh my God. This is crazy that we can go out at any time.’ When you’re coming from Australia, where many things close even by 6 o’clock, it’s so different. Which tennis player would you want to buy a hot dog off of from a New York City street cart?

Sam Stosur: Oh wow. Francesca Schiavone because I think she’d do it with a lot of passion, and she’d be very out there with her mannerisms and everything. I guess, being Italian, you’d know it would be good. Have you used the New York City subways?

Sam Stosur: Yeah, I did last year a little bit. It’s easy, but it was just unbelievably hot, and I was sweating bullets by the time I got out. So that was the only downside. Where do you keep your US Open trophy?

Sam Stosur: It’s in my apartment in Sydney. I’ve actually renovated the place, so I have this hole cut out in one of the walls by the front entrance. There are a couple of trophies in there, and that one is definitely front and center.