My Roland-Garros: Samantha Stosur

 - Dan Imhoff

Australian has made as many second-week runs in Paris as all her other majors combined.

Sam Stosur©Nicolas Gouhier / FFT

Australian Samantha Stosur reached her first Grand Slam semi-final in Paris a decade ago. It was a precursor to a stunning run to the 2010 final, in which she felled big names Justine Henin, Serena Williams and Jelena Jankovic in succession before coming up short against Francesca Schiavone.

Despite her sole Grand Slam title coming at Flushing Meadows, Roland-Garros stands as her strongest major; she has reached the second week six times and owns a winning percentage of 72 per cent.

RG: You’ve reached the second week at Roland-Garros six times and won 72 per cent of your matches here. What is it about Roland-Garros that brings out the best in you?
Stosur: "I think the courts, the atmosphere, it’s kind of funny because juniors and qualifying I lost my first five matches here so five years in a row I couldn’t win anything and then it’s been my most successful Grand Slam. I think just getting out there playing. I love the feeling of being out on these courts and yeah it just brings out the best in me."

What is your first memory of Roland-Garros, or Paris?
"Well I remember being here as a junior and watching Steffi Graf and Hingis play their final. I was a massive Steffi fan all my life and we would, a junior team I was sharing with one of the other teammates and I remember jumping on our single beds wanting Steffi to win and just trying to will her over the line so that’s my first memory, probably of being in Paris and being at the club and everything."

Which year do you feel you played your best at Roland-Garros?
"2010, without a doubt. Obviously being in the final even though I didn’t win was a highlight of my career. It’s fantastic to be in a Grand Slam final."

What are some of the features that make Roland-Garros unique to you as opposed to other stops on tour?
"I think the size of the grounds and everything are pretty small compared to some of the others. I think the fact they can do the same thing here as the Australian Open or US Open, it keeps it very intimate. The crowd can really feel involved and they’re on the courts and I know it’s all a bit different this year. I haven’t been able to walk around the courts yet but there’s just a bit of a classic feel about this event. I think it’s just great to be here."

You’ve beaten some big names here in your runs over the years. What was the most special match you’ve played in at Roland-Garros?
"Obviously my results over here, I think beating Henin here in 2010, given her record and what she was doing going into that tournament that year, that’s definitely a highlight I’ll always remember. That one and then probably beating Serena that next round. I was a set and had a lead so could have very easily have been 6-2, 6-3 or something but ended up winning it 8-6 or something in the third, saved a match point and hit probably two of my best winners ever to break serve and serve out the match so there’s lots of good memories here."