You have to feel for Sam Stosur.
Another Australian Open disappointment for our leading female tennis player will do little to ease that increasing burden of expectation.
Sam probably won’t roll this one out as an excuse but it’s a fact her preparation hasn’t been ideal thanks to ankle surgery.
While the ankle has healed, the operation cost her considerable and important preparation time in the lead-up to the Australian summer of tennis.
The decision to have the surgery should benefit Sam in the long run and that will make it worthwhile.
Her detractors will say the ankle had nothing to do with coughing up a 5-2 lead in the third set and serving a double fault on match point to hand the game to China’s Zheng Jie.
There’s probably some truth to that. But everyone at professional sport level talks about the importance of a faultless preparation going into major events and Sam’s path was far from that.
The tragedy is that Sam Stosur is a great Australian ambassador and a majority of the nation would love to see her triumph.
She has won over the Australian public with her professional and gracious attitude to everything she does.
Sam is the type of sportswoman we want travelling around the world representing us. She’s modest and aware of the responsibilities that come with her status. But sadly ‘nice’ doesn’t always win out.
Sam will now spend the next few days answering all those questions about expectation while a young player with plenty of talent, who could learn much from her attitude and conduct in Bernard Tomic, will hog the national limelight.
Just doesn’t seem fair.