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Stosur retains coach despite mixed season

Date

Linda Pearce, Istanbul

Down: Sam Stosur loses to Sara Errani in Istanbul.

Down: Sam Stosur loses to Sara Errani in Istanbul.

SAM Stosur has extended her partnership with long-time coach David Taylor, despite a season that failed to reach the grand slam title-winning heights of 2011.

Taylor's dual role with Stosur and as Fed Cup captain has been renewed for 2013, 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 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 for the day for me to say, 'Dave, you know, I think I need a change here'," she smiled.

"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 share a particularly close bond. 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 kind-of 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 told The Age.

"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 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, because it's a long one."

This one started anti-climactically, with Stosur succumbing to the stresses of heightened attention and expectation and winning a single match across her three Australian tournaments, including a first-round flameout against Sorana Cirstea at Melbourne Park.

"Very up-and-down," is her own 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 ahead of the Australian Open.

"But I've won 44 matches this year, and previous years it was maybe 45 and 47, so as far as match wins goes it's not that far different. But different enough to go to nine, instead of six, and obviously different enough to be a little more disappointed with the year than I have been with the last couple."

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