Samantha Stosur has declared herself refreshed and capable of playing for several more years after enduring one of her longest injury layoffs.
For the first time in almost a decade, 33-year-old Stosur won’t be Australia’s top-ranked female player when she launches her summer campaign.
After a record 442 consecutive weeks on top, Stosur relinquished that status to Daria Gavrilova when she suffered a stress fracture in her right playing hand during the fourth round of the French Open.
Young gun Ash Barty has since seized the mantle from Gavrilova, climbing 251 spots in the rankings to sit at No.20 in the world.
Stosur’s stint on the sidelines – her longest since sitting out most of 2007 when she was diagnosed with the debilitating Lyme disease – forced her to miss the entire grasscourt season.
But if the 2011 US Open champion had cause to reflect on her future, her return to the WTA circuit in Asia last month left her convinced that she had plenty left in the tank.
“I actually just found that I was refreshed, I was ready to go and I enjoyed those last five weeks travelling,” Stosur said in Melbourne on Tuesday.
“I felt like I was eager and keen whereas for some of the players at the end of a long season, it can get pretty tiring.
“Mentally, I was ready to compete again and really wanted to get out there … physically, I was feeling pretty good too.
“It’s one of those things – you don’t wish for that time off but when you’ve got it, it can actually be kind of a blessing in disguise sometimes to let the batteries run out and charge them up again.”
A perennial grand slam contender, Stosur will remain hopeful of improving her forgettable record at the Australian Open.
With the evergreen Venus Williams still thriving at age 37, Stosur said she wouldn’t put a limit on her own career timeline.
“I think there’s still another good two, three years – who knows?,” she said,
“If my body’s good and I’m still able to compete with the best then I don’t want to put a number on it.”