Sam Stosur will go down as one of Australian tennis' greatest champions. But whether or not the Australian public recognises that remains to be seen.
The 38-year-old announced on Saturday night that she will hang up the racquet for good after taking part in the women's and mixed doubles at the Australian Open. Stosur, who famously beat Serena Williams to win the US Open in 2011, has already retired from singles.
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But the 2023 Australian Open will be her final swansong when she teams up with Matt Ebden in the mixed and Alize Cornet in the women's doubles. Stosur said on Saturday she was "looking forward to getting on the court one last time in front of my amazing fans, who are the reason I go out there and play the sport I love, and enjoying this wonderful ride one last time."
Stosur's victory over Serena will go down as one of the most remarkable Aussie sporting achievements ever. Serena was in her pomp and playing in front of a ferocious home crowd at Flushing Meadows.
But Stosur shocked the tennis world when she dethroned the 23-time grand slam champion at the top of her game. She reached as high as World No.4 in singles and No.1 in doubles, winning seven grand slam doubles titles - four in women's and three in mixed.
But some of the comments that have flowed on social media in the wake of her retirement have been nothing short of disgusting. Many have chosen to mention the many first-round exits she made at Melbourne Park and completely washed over her eight grand slam titles.
Stosur was one of Australia's most successful players at the French Open, four times reaching the semi-finals, including a loss in the 2010 final. She also made quarter-finals in the years either side of her US Open triumph.
"I feel so happy and grateful to have the opportunity to finish playing at my favourite slam - my home slam - in front of my Aussie fans, friends and family," she said. "Even though I've made the decision to retire from the sport I absolutely love, a small part of me would be happy to keep playing forever.
"I want to say a huge thank you to my incredible parents Dianne and Tony, my brothers Dominic and Daniel, my partner Liz and daughter Evie, and all the coaches, physios, trainers, doctors, and all my sponsors over the years.
"There are many others who have helped and supported me behind the scenes and around the world. You know who you are, I hope you know I couldn't have done it without you, and I will thank you all in person."
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Former coach and doubles partner Rennae Stubbs said: "I knew this was coming yet here I am, reading your words and crying my eyes out! Sam, there isn't a person on tour that could say a bad word about you.
"Your class, professionalism, dedication and love and respect for the sport, your fellow competitors and the people around you, are unmatched. There will be a huge void out there on this crazy tour without you but my god was it a good place when you were in it.
"Watching you go from that unsure kid with talent, to a hall of fame career was a pleasure to witness. You have been a role model for so many and you should be beyond proud of that & the player you became but more importantly, the person you are."
Any tennis fans who can't recognise Stosur for the champion she is should be ashamed of themselves.
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