Stosur wary but excited for Rio Olympics

Her debilitating six-month battle with Lyme disease has Samantha Stosur on high alert heading to the Rio Olympics.

But unlike men’s stars Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic, Australia’s top-ranked tennis player says she wouldn’t miss the Games for anything.

“There’s concerns but I’m not wanting to withdraw, that’s for sure,” Stosur told AAP at Wimbledon.

“I’m really wanting to be there and play. It is an honour and privilege to be part of the team.”

It’s been nine years since Stosur’s traumatic experience dealing with Lyme disease sidelined her for six months and threatened to end her career.

The tick-borne illness left her bed-ridden and in severe pain for weeks after it was initially feared she had viral meningitis.

So it comes as no surprise Stosur is wary about going to Brazil, where the Zika virus has already led to a spate of high-profile withdrawals, including fellow Queenslander and world No.1 golfer Jason Day.

Stosur admits her Lyme disease ordeal has left her feeling anxious “any time I go to uncharted territory”.

“I’ve never been to South America either and that in itself makes me apprehensive,” said the former US Open champion.

“There’s obviously lots of things going on that you’ve got to be aware of.

“But if you’re smart and doing what you should be doing then, touch wood, there won’t be any problem.”

Stosur is relying heavily on Australian Olympic officials after agreeing to lead Australia’s six-strong tennis team in Rio.

“There’s certainly things that I’ve thought about a lot more going to Rio than any other Olympics, or really any other place,” said the world No.16.

“But I’d like to think that the Australian team and everyone involved is obviously keeping tabs on everything we need to know and we’re being looked after as best as possible.”

Stosur will be competing in her fourth Games and looms as one of Australia’s brightest medal contenders.

In addition to her 2011 US Open triumph, the 32-year-old is a former world No.1 doubles ace with four grand slam doubles titles to her credit.

She has won doubles titles at all four of tennis’s majors, including the mixed crown at Wimbledon in 2014 with Nenad Zimonjic.

Stosur has teamed with John Peers in the mixed this Wimbledon in the hope of forging an Olympic medal-winning combination with the men’s world No.10 doubles player.

“We played in Australia and enjoyed it,” Stosur said.

“He’s a super nice guy and obviously a great doubles player so it’s a good chance for me to play with someone like that and hopefully we can do alright.

“We’ll see how this week goes. I haven’t played too much mixed or many doubles events lately.

“But I really enjoy playing mixed doubles and coming up against the guys and trying to serve against them.

“I know John certainly knows what he’s doing and hopefully we can do well.”

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