Samantha Stosur of Australia in action against Sara Errani of Italy

Team player ... Sam Stosur is hoping for a better year after a disappointing run. Photo: Getty Images

ISTANBUL: Sam Stosur has extended her partnership with long-time coach David Taylor, despite a season that failed to reach the grand-slam-winning heights of last year. Taylor's dual role with Stosur and as Fed Cup captain has been renewed for next year, which the Queenslander will start as the world No.9.

''I'm absolutely happy with what I've got in place and how it all works,'' said 28-year-old Stosur, who finished with a 44-24 season record, including two finals losses, a French Open semi-final and a pair of round-robin defeats when drafted into the year-end WTA Championships in Istanbul.

''Even after Wimbledon last year he was kind of waiting I think for the day for me to say, 'Dave, you know, I think I need a change here','' she quipped. ''But it did not even enter my head and I absolutely fully trust what he says and our relationship together and how it all works. We're just both always trying to work towards making me as best I can and that's going to continue.''

The pair's collaboration began after Stosur's 2008 return from Lyme disease, and player and coach share a particularly close bond at the core of a tight-knit team. Taylor has been the architect of Stosur's rise from unfulfilled singles player whose greatest accomplishments were on the doubles court, to US Open champion and a three-year fixture in the top 10.

''He knows when to push the right buttons and when not to, and sometimes after a loss he can tell that he doesn't need to go too hard, and then other times, yeah, he does,'' Stosur said in Istanbul.

''I think we've got a great relationship; he can tell me the truth and exactly what he thinks. And most of the time I can take it on the chin and handle it and bounce back well, and obviously sometimes it's a little bit harder. But I know he's only saying it to make me the best player I can be, and I think that's why we've lasted as long as what we have.''

Stosur left for Australia last night, and after a three-week break on the Gold Coast and in Sydney will start pre-season training with conditioning expert Narelle Sibte. ''I'm going to really try and go hard with that for a little bit, and then get stuck into the tennis,'' she said. ''I'm going to just try and get over whatever niggles I've got and just be ready to go. It's really important to do that but also to freshen up for the year ahead, cos it is a long one.''

This one started badly , Stosur succumbing to the stresses of heightened local expectation and winning just a single match across her three Australian tournaments, including a first-round flame-out against Sorana Cirstea at Melbourne Park. ''Very up and down'' is her summation, with some good, some bad and some dreadful mixed in.

''I don't want to finish [number] nine and say I've had an awful year, but the last couple have probably been better, in a lot of ways,'' said Stosur, who will again play in Brisbane and Sydney before the Australian Open.