Places of the Heart
In her 20 years on the pro circuit, the Australian tennis star has played (and stayed) all over the world. She thinks these destinations are ace.
Tennis star Sam Stosur ranks her top travel memories
2009 | Japan OSAKA
I’ve always loved Osaka with its little streets and alleyways. Ten years ago, when I was there for the Japan Women’s Open [Stosur won it], every night my coach, my trainer and I would stick our heads through the fabric [noren] covering the door of this tiny restaurant in Kitashinchi. Everything was in Japanese and we’d go, “No, can’t go in; we’re too scared; don’t know what we’re doing.”
Then one night we got up the courage. There were only seven or eight seats. Nobody working there spoke English and none of us spoke Japanese but a woman having dinner offered to help. The food was incredible.
I played that same week in Osaka for the next five years and every time we’d go back to the restaurant, the guy remembered us and what we ate. No kidding. We’d walk in and he’d make a sign for chicken. Then we’d go, “Beef, beef!” and he’d go, “Prawn toast!” I’ve never known the name of that place.
2017 | Australia CRADLE MOUNTAIN
In November 2017, four friends and I went hiking on Cradle Mountain in Tasmania. We carried our tents, food, a camp stove and utensils. My pack weighed about 23 kilograms.
Each day we’d see something different: fields, lush rainforest, waterfalls, snow-capped mountains. One morning I woke up freezing. I was wearing thermals, trackpants, a fleece, a puffy jacket and a beanie. I unzipped the tent and it was snowing. Trying to undo knots with frozen fingers was painful but the weather was perfect after that.
One cold night we scored some beds in a hut and after dinner I produced five minibarsized bottles of Baileys – one for each of us – and a packet of Tim Tams that I’d brought along as a surprise. We were the envy of the other hikers!
I stay in hotels all the time, which is why I loved it. I hadn’t done much camping – and certainly no hiking – so I had to buy the equipment. I joke that it was one of the most expensive holidays I’ve had and I didn’t even get a bed. I can’t wait to do it again.
2018 | United States NEW YORK CITY
I’ve played in New York a lot but last year, at the US Open, I did more New Yorky things than ever before. My childhood best friend came over and booked us a helicopter flight over the city – without doors. I was terrified for 15 minutes then loosened up and really enjoyed it. I went to two Broadway shows – Chicago and Beautiful – and to Madison Square Garden to see Billy Joel.
Somebody asked me what I enjoyed the most and you know what? The helicopter and Broadway were amazing but one night some friends and I went to a restaurant called Dante in Greenwich Village. The company was fantastic, the food awesome. We laughed, we cried, we did everything. I had two days off so I had a cocktail. We [Stosur and her doubles partner, Shuai Zhang] won the next couple of matches so it didn’t hinder my performance. This could be the new formula!