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It is time for an Australian to win the Grand Slam down under in Melbourne.
For 20 years, tennis’ upper ranks were populated with Australians. For the men, Jack Crawford (four Australian Open titles) was the precursor in the 1930s.
But players like Frank Sedgman (2), Roy Emerson (6), Ken Rosewall (4), Rod Laver (3), James Anderson (3), Adrian Quist (3) and John Newcombe (2), to name a few, dominated tennis and the Australian Open in the mid to late 1950s through the early to mid 1970s.
Aussie Lleyton Hewiit did not come along to claim his place at the top until 2001. So far in 2011, heading into the Australian Open, these are Australia’s top-ranked men: (54) Lleyton Hewitt, (137) Peter Luczak, (138) Marinko Matosevic, (153) Cartsen Bell and (196) Matthew Ebden.
For the women, the greatest player ever, Australian Margaret Court, played from 1960-1977. She was first ranked No. 1 in 1962 and last ranked No. 1 in 1973.
During her illustrious career she won 11 Australian Open titles, 24 Grand Slam titles in total.
Another famous Aussie, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, won four Australian Open titles, seven Slam titles altogether. Currently, Australia’s top-ranked women are (6) Samantha Stosur, (42) Jarmila Groth, (64) Anastasia Rodionova, (122) Sophie Ferguson and (130) Alica Molik.
With Serena Williams sidelined, the Aussie who will win in Melbourne must be Samantha Stosur, who has built her singles game into a real weapon. Enjoying some success in 2009, Stosur decided to concentrate her efforts on singles in 2010.
Seeded No. 13 at last year’s Australian Open, Stosur made it all the way to the fourth round, where she encountered the No. 1 seed, Serena Williams. Stosur lost that match 6-4, 6-2 but moved up to the No. 11 WTA ranking.
Stosur, however, made her mark at the French Open, where she made the finals and was expected to win the title but could not overcome Italian Francesca Schiavone. After the French Open, Stosur rose to the No. 5 WTA ranking.
Stosur has one of the best serves in the women’s game, and she is one of the most athletic women playing the game. As an accomplished doubles player, Stosur handles net play well, moving quickly to the ball and punching it across the net with depth and accuracy.
It makes perfect sense for her to capture the Australian Open in 2011 because she has all the tools and the crowd support, and the defending champion, Serena Williams, will not be present.
Stosur just needs to calm her nerves and set her sights on winning this for Australia. The last woman to win the title was Margaret Court in 1973.
It seems right in 2011 for Stosur to bring the Aussie championship back home.