After plummeting down the WTA world rankings during a challenging 2017, former world number four Sam Stosur is in the midst of a lean run on the tennis court.
But this weekend’s Fed Cup tie against the Netherlands is the perfect environment to trigger a return to form according to former Australian star Jelena Dokic.
Dokic, who will commentate the crucial tie, played through injury struggles during her career and knows exactly what a week training and playing alongside Australian teammates can do for a player.
“Fed Cup weeks are very special,” Dokic said. “They were some of my best weeks on the tour, the whole vibe, the team environment and being around the players, captain and coaches. Everyone comes together for those weeks and it’s very special to play for your country.
“Unfortunately you don’t get too many of these a year, especially if you don’t win, but they can be very important if you have a great practice week. Sam’s very experienced, she knows where she is physically and mentally and where she is in her tennis.
“It’s good for her to be back in the Fed Cup team, often if you’re struggling with form or injuries, getting back into the Fed Cup team for those weeks definitely helps.”
Stosur will line up alongside Ashleigh Barty, Daria Gavrilova and Destanee Aiava in this weekend’s clash at the Wollongong Entertainment Centre.
The 2011 US Open winner has experienced a wretched run of injuries in the past couple of years, with a stress fracture suffered at the French Open crippling much of her 2017 campaign. After starting last year ranked 21st and climbing to 17th in April, Stosur then fell down the rankings to 58, where she currently sits.
Stosur’s form to start 2018 has resembled that of 2017, with the Queenslander winning just three of the 12 main-draw matches she has played this year.
Dokic believes Stosur has the ability to reverse the rankings slide and is confident it’s only a matter of time before the 34-year-old is able to turn the tide.
“She had a tough year last year, struggled with form and injuries. It’s tough, only she knows how her body is feeling, she had a stress fracture last year and she’s struggling with form this year.
“Game-wise, she definitely deserves to be there and sometimes when you’re struggling with injuries and confidence that can play a part. Unfortunately it hasn’t been the best couple of years for her.
“It’s tough for her to turn things around. I had my fair share of injuries and it was very tough, your ranking might drop and you’re not seeded so you might run into players that are in form.
“You might not be playing too bad, but get a couple of tough draws, your confidence goes down because you haven’t won. It’s a circle, one thing leading to another.
“She’s got the game to be better than what she has been in the past year. Part of it is the injuries and definitely lifting her confidence. I think she can get back, but the most important thing for her is to stay injury free.”