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.

Qantas - - CONTENTS -

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!

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