After a ho-hum – but hectic – American summer, Samantha Stosur only needed a short stroll through Flushing Meadows to regain her grand slam mojo.
Australia’s former champion says returning to the scene of her greatest triumph is inspiration enough to make another run at the title.
“Compared to other tournaments, it’s nice coming back here and you walk into the locker room and you see your name on the wall with all the other past champions,” Stosur said before her first-round match-up with Camila Giorgi on Tuesday (Wednesday AEST).
“It’s certainly somewhere I feel comfortable playing and where I’ve played some of my best tennis.
“You have an extra little spring in your step when you come in here.
“It’s a nice feeling and a reflection of what I’ve been able to achieve.
“I can’t believe it was five years ago actually, so now you want to do it again so you can’t live in the past for too long.”
Apart from her 2011 final victory over Serena Williams, Stosur reached the quarters in 2010 and 2012 before falling to eventual champion Flavia Pennetta in the fourth round last year.
“It’s nice to know that I’ve done it seven times in a row here and why not try again,” she said.
“I probably haven’t had the results I’d wanted leading in, but I feel like the past couple of weeks I’ve picked up my level in practice a lot and I’m feeling much better about the way I’m hitting the ball going into my first-round match here.
“There was nothing I was feeling terrible about. It was just about getting some momentum.”
In a jam-packed schedule since Wimbledon, Stosur’s best result was a third-round showing at the Olympics, where she lost to world No.2 and silver medallist Angelique Kerber, before crashing out first up in Cincinnati.
The 16th-seeded French Open semi-finalist knows Giorgi, despite the Italian’s lowly ranking of No.66, will be a handful.
“It’s going to be hard. She’s got a big game,” Stosur said of the one-time world No.30 and grand slam seed.
“She likes to hit every ball as hard as she can and there’s not too much difference between her first and second-serve speed.
“She plays super aggressive tennis so when she’s on and feeling it, you have to think she’s capable of beating anyone out there.
“So there’s going to be parts of that match where you’re going to have to weather the storm and hold your ground and just do what you can.
“Other times, when there’s an opportunity, I have to step up and make her feel the pressure right back at her.”