Sam Stosur and Zhang Shuai F interview

  • def. Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic 6-3 6-4

Q. Sam, you said to the broadcaster you cried after the semifinal. Were there tears when you won this one?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: I kind of welled up a little bit in the semi, then nothing today. Whatever that means, I don't know (laughter).

I think today was, yeah, more excitement than anything. I think the other night, it was such a close, intense match that whole way through. Then, yeah, just that feeling of making it to today was amazing.

Today was, yeah, I think excitement and happiness at the end.

Q. Sam, you had match points on your serve. How were the nerves?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: A little bit nervous. I actually have no idea where that first second serve landed because Shuai was in the way. This close or that close, I had no idea. I still felt confident because hadn't lost my serve all day. I felt like when I was really needing to, I was coming up with the goods on serve.

With Shuai at the net, I think we were making good decisions out there. Obviously it was a very close game. I felt confident in both of us to be able to pull it out then.

Q. You looked like you had a bit of a laugh to yourself.
SAMANTHA STOSUR: That's when we've been playing our best. I think being uptight or tense or anything doesn't really work. With the whole week, we tried to stay relaxed, have fun, enjoy it. Yeah, in that moment, kind of needed to laugh it off. Had a match point, I double-faulted. We just go with it.

Q. It seems you played much better in doubles than singles in this Australian Open. Have you considered shifting your focus to doubles instead of singles? What is your future plan? Will you continue your cooperation in the other Grand Slams as a team?
ZHANG SHUAI: I'm really happy I won the Australian Open in Melbourne with my best friend. For sure after here we should play more doubles because now we have high ranking. We can play a lot big tournaments. Last two years, me, I have injury. After, Sam has injury. We cannot play together.

But now we healthy and we have high ranking. Also after here, we get a lot confidence. We should play more because we want win more.

Q. Sam, after your semifinal, you said that you quite vividly remember what happened in 2006 with Lisa Raymond. When you were serving for the match this time, did that ever enter your mind? Subsequently, holding and winning, how much more special did that feel given what happened 13 years ago?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Yeah, it kind of did come into my mind when we were crossing the net for the change of ends. I was like, No, you got this. I can serve well, fully believed in Shuai. During that game, it was absolutely each point. Didn't come into it.

I think it's probably natural to remember different things. I think if you can kind of, yeah, acknowledge it but don't stress about it, just get back to business, that's all that really mattered.

Yeah, it was just a great game to finish.

Q. (Indiscernible.)
SAMANTHA STOSUR: I guess in some ways. I obviously never knew if – you never know if you're going to be in a Grand Slam final ever again. When you're in it, you want to do everything you can possible in that moment to make the right decisions and play how you want to play, enjoy it. That's really what we did.

Yeah, to now 13 years later be holding this one instead of the runner-up is a really good feeling.

Q. From an outsider's perspective, it looks like you face a lot of pressure at this slam because it's your homeland slam. Can you describe the difference how you feel in singles versus doubles? Does this make up for maybe some of the disappointments that you've experienced in singles?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Yeah, I think it probably does. I think even my match here, my singles match in the fourth round, it wasn't a disastrous match. I still played pretty well. I came up against a young 18-year-old who not everyone's heard of yet, but they will in weeks or months to come. I think she's going to be a very good player. I really don't think that was a disgrace by any means.

Okay, singles is done, focus on the doubles. That's what we were able to do. I think probably for any singles player, playing doubles can almost feel more relaxing or more fun. I think that's really a natural thing for all of us.

Yeah, if we could transfer that a little bit into the singles court, that would be a good thing. That's probably easier said than done.

Q. Will you communicate with Lisa after this at all?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: She's already been sending me messages after the last two matches.

Q. What does she say?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Just congratulations, really well done. She told me the other night on text, Go get it 13 years later, get it now. That was really nice to hear from Lisa. I actually haven't seen her for quite a number of years. Really looking forward to seeing her again, whenever that may be.

Q. Sam, you mentioned the special friendship in your speech. As she was saying, you are her best friend on tour. How does it feel?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: It's amazing. Yeah, we are really great friends, best friends on tour. We spend a lot of time together practicing every week, wherever we're at the same tournament. I think the friendship, the respect we have for each other is why we can then play so well together.

It's just enjoyable. We have fun. We're smiling before every match. We say, All right, let's have some fun, give it our best shot. We know it's always the way we're going to play our best.

Yeah, I know she believes in me as I believe in her. We do it as a team. To now be holding a trophy, and for Shuai, her first Grand Slam, it's really exciting. I'm really happy that I can be the partner she has to be able to do that.

Q. Sam, we all know that Shuai is a hard-working player in China. What are your comments on her on court and off court?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: She's a great player, great singles and doubles player. As she's played more and more, her confidence has got better and better every year. I mean, when she first won her singles match here in Australia after not winning before, I actually cried when I saw that. Now I guess it's really special to be the doubles champion here for Shuai.

She fights every single day, gives her best. You can always see what she's trying to work on and improve. I think it shows that she's very, very strong mentally and obviously physically it's no problem.

Yeah, she really deserves to be a Grand Slam champion.

Q. Sam, what do you see for your future? Will you take an extra effort to play more doubles? Does it give you confidence to play longer?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: I don't know about that. I mean, we'd already before this week said we were going to play the year together, try and play all the slams, whatever tournaments work out for our singles schedule throughout the year. Regardless of the result this week, we were going to do that anyway.

But, yeah, obviously now, having done this today, it kind of gives you that extra boost. Want to get back out there and try and keep it going. We'll definitely have more of a talk of where our doubles may align together as the year goes on.

Q. Shuai, I read somewhere Sam talked you out of retiring. Is that true?
ZHANG SHUAI: Me?

Q. Yes.
ZHANG SHUAI: Yes (smiling).

Q. Can you expand on that.
ZHANG SHUAI: Yeah, three years ago before Australia Open, in China actually, in Beijing, we have dinner together. I said, Maybe I'm retire after here.

After the dinner, Sam sent to me long message. I'm start to thinking maybe, okay, play one more tournament, Australia Open, and after I retire.

Yeah, after the story you will know I make the quarterfinal from quallies. Really thanks for Sam give me the one chance to keep going. Really important message. So, yeah, I make it. We make the champion now.

I think that's the best, yeah, for us because we're like each other so much, we trust each other. Also I always make some funny on court. I think that's help us a lot. Sam always laughing me on court. I think that's really good. Try to relax, no more pressure. So the whole two week I think for us amazing, yeah, in my life.

Q. Sam, watching all the hallways behind the court after the match, everyone is lining up to congratulate you, Casey, Alicia, then social media has responded strongly. Are you aware of how popular this victory is at home? How does that feel to be having this response in the short amount of time since coming off court?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: Yeah, I mean, it's exciting. I think it's exciting for my whole team, everyone that's obviously helped me keep improving, get on court every day. Whether you're winning or losing, it doesn't matter, they're with you all the time. That's why I think, yeah, it's really exciting to see all those people in your team up in the box watching, being really happy.

Yeah, my parents are still here, but my brothers both had gone home earlier in the week. They both came down last night to watch. I have my best friend here and a whole heap of friends that live here.

I think to be able to play at home in front of all of them and have success is super exciting. I can feel my phone going off every two seconds at the moment. It's great to know that that support's there from everyone that's close to you, but also feeling it from, yeah, people you don't even know who are happy and excited. It's an amazing feeling.

Q. Considering everyone is here, you've got your great friend alongside you, how do you celebrate this one?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: I was actually thinking this morning, regardless of whether we win or lose, we have to celebrate because it's still a great achievement. I didn't come up with anything and I didn't do anything (laughter). I don't know.

I know that AO has a little thing upstairs for us. I think given what we've got to do, we'll head up there first and see wherever the night takes us. Doesn't really matter, because we're together, we're going to enjoy it no matter where we are. We might think of something in the next hour or something.