Sto­sur re­turn raises long-lost Fed Cup dreams

Sunday Tasmanian - - Sport - PAUL MALONE SUN­DAY DE­CEM­BER 3 2017 THE­MER­CURY.COM.AU

SAM Sto­sur is to re­join the Aus­tralian Fed Cup team next year for a charge at mak­ing the na­tion’s first fi­nal since 1994.

Sto­sur, 33, made her­self un­avail­able for se­lec­tion this year to free up her sched­ule, an ob­jec­tive ru­ined by a hand in­jury that side­lined her from Wim­ble­don and the US Open.

But with the Gold Coaster, ranked No.41, one of three Aus­tralian women in the yearend top 50, the pos­si­bil­i­ties of suc­cess with Ash Barty, Daria Gavrilova and Casey Del­lac­qua are en­tic­ing.

Sto­sur is step­ping up train­ing in Syd­ney un­der coach Josh Ea­gle for her sum­mer cam­paign, which starts at the Bris­bane In­ter­na­tional from De­cem­ber 31-Jan­uary 7.

“I’d love to be a part of Fed Cup again. We have a fan­tas­tic team now and I’ll be talk­ing to Ali­cia [Mo­lik, the Aus­tralian cap­tain],’’ Sto­sur said. “We are work­ing through a few things on how we can make it come to­gether.

“I’ve thought about it all this year to be hon­est after I made the de­ci­sion not to play this year.

“It’s dif­fi­cult with sched­ul­ing to do it ev­ery sin­gle year.’’

Aus­tralia won the last of its seven Fed Cup ti­tles in 1974 and Sto­sur’s best year in the com­pe­ti­tion was a 2015 semi­fi­nal elim­i­na­tion by Ger­many.

Aus­tralia is one of seven na­tions with three or more top-50 women, oth­ers be­ing the US (six), Ger­many, Rus­sia and Czech Repub­lic (five) and France and China (three).

Sto­sur’s com­mit­ment to Fed Cup ten­nis over the years in­su­lated her from crit­i­cism over her 2017 un­avail­abil­ity.

In Fe­bru­ary, the Ukraine, which can draw on world No.6 Elina Svi­tolina, plays a tie in Aus­tralia from Fe­bru­ary 10-11 in the first round of the world group com­pe­ti­tion.

Sto­sur played five WTA tour­na­ments on re­turn from in­jury in Septem­ber.

“I feel re­freshed. I have five more weeks of train­ing and there is a lot of time to get ready to have a good tour­na­ment in Bris­bane,’’ she said.


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