Sam Stosur reduced to tears in heartbreaking farewell at Australian Open

The Aussie tennis veteran's career came to end in sad scenes at Melbourne Park on Saturday night.

Sam Stosur, pictured here in tears after her tennis career came to an end at the Australian Open.
Sam Stosur broke down in tears after her tennis career came to an end at the Australian Open. Image: Channel 9

Tennis fans have been left heartbroken for Sam Stosur after her farewell to the sport ended in back-to-back losses at the Australian Open. The Aussie veteran announced before the Australian Open that the tournament would be her last in professional tennis, bringing down the curtain on a brilliant 23-year career.

She lost in the first round of the women's doubles with Alize Cornet on Thursday, before another loss alongside Matt Ebden in the mixed doubles on Saturday night. The back-to-back losses officially ended Stosur's career - probably not as quickly as she would have liked.

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The 38-year-old broke down in tears as she thanked fans for their support on Saturday night, weeping into her hands as she sat at her courtside seat. Stosur was given a standing ovation by the crowd, which included her family, and was acknowledged by her rivals after a 21st and final campaign at Melbourne Park.

"It's really hard to put into words. I just can't believe the journey I've been able to get on," Stosur said in a post-match interview. "Dreaming as a little kid and to be able to finish here all these years later in front of friends and family and the Aussie fans who have supported me forever.

"That's what actually makes me the most upset is not being able to go to all these tournaments and see all the people that I love. I've been lucky to have the success that I've had and that's what we do it for, and I've been very blessed to have the career that I've had and do it in a way where I've enjoyed myself with the people around me."

Stosur and Ebden came agonisingly close to prolonging her career, but fell 4-6 6-3 10-6 in a match tiebreak to the fifth-seeded Dutch-Croatian pairing of Demi Schuurs and Nikola Mektic. It came after her 3-6 4-6 loss in the women's doubles to Chan Hao-ching and Yang Zhaoxuan.

Sam Stosur, pictured here in tears as she farewells the Australian Open.
Sam Stosur broke down in tears as she farewelled the Australian Open. Image: Channel 9

Tennis world pays tribute to Sam Stosur

Stosur will go down as one of the greats of Australian tennis, with her crowning moment coming in 2011 when she beat Serena Williams in the US Open final to capture her lone grand slam singles title. The incredible victory over the 23-time major winner broke a 31-year grand slam singles title drought for Australian women.

The Queenslander reached a career-high of World No.4 in singles and was the top-ranked Australian player for 442 consecutive weeks between October 2008 and June 2017. It still marks the record for an Aussie man or woman.

Her remarkable singles career was matched by her feats in doubles, with Stosur winning four grand slam titles in women's doubles and three in mixed. She reached World No.1 in women's doubles and spent 61 weeks atop the rankings.

She won the Australian Open title in women's doubles in 2019 with Zhang Shuai, as well as the mixed title with countryman Scott Draper way back in 2005. She is one of only four Australian women - along with Margaret Court, Evonne Goolagong Cawley and Lesley Bowrey - to win grand slam titles in singles, doubles and mixed formats of the game.

In announcing her retirement last weekend, Stosur said she was looking forward to spending more time with her young family - partner Liz and daughter Evie. She ranks No.22 on the list of all-time prize-money winners in women's tennis with $28.82 million.

with AAP

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