Samantha Stosur says the intense glare of the spotlight she gets put under every Australian summer puts an unfair emphasis on her early season form.
Stosur has been a notorious under-performer during the January home swing of the international season.
In 13 appearances at the Australian Open, Stosur’s best performance have been fourth round showings in 2006 and 2010.
The 2011 US Open champion also has a mixed record in lead-up tournaments across the country.
Despite reaching finals on the Gold Coast and in Sydney in 2005, Stosur’s early season form has featured more early exits than deep runs.
Last year’s Brisbane International was an example as the Australian fell in her opening match against American Varvara Lepchenko.
It’s been interpreted as a mental frailty by some but the 31-year-old says her inconsistent displays are really not much different to many of her rivals’ at this stage of the season as players return from a break.
“It’s easy to jump to conclusions,” Stosur said.
“It’s one of those things. Sometimes it’s hard without match play … without those kind of things under your belt the Australian summer can be very difficult.
“I’m not the only player to have lost early rounds and not have a good start to the season but because I’m Australian it gets highlighted.”
This year’s Brisbane International has featured a far more low-profile preparation by Stosur, who is desperate to improve on her current world ranking of 27.
A former top five-ranked player, Stosur said her main aim was to break back into the top 20.
“It (27th) is still nothing to sneeze at I guess but given where I have been in my career it’s certainly a fair bit lower than where I necessarily expect myself,” she said.
“This year I’d definitely like to improve on that and try and get myself back into the top 20 as soon as possible.
“The only way to do that is by winning matches and doing that consistently. I still feel like I’ve got that well within me, it’s just a matter of doing it.”