Sam Stosur took the change in her stride. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)
Sam Stosur took the change in her stride. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

Losing top ranking takes pressure of Stosur

SAM Stosur will move with no sense of regret towards her first Australian tennis summer since 2009 without the mantle as the country's top-ranked woman.

Stosur has tinkered repeatedly over the years in her efforts to find a winning formula at her home Grand Slam.

The former world No.4 has had seven Australian Open campaigns since her last trip to the second week, but found success at the US Open, which she won in 2011, and the French, where she made one final and three other semi-finals.

In June, Stosur handed over to Daria Gavrilova the Australian No.1 ranking she had held for a remarkable 452 consecutive weeks tracking back to October, 2008.

Stosur's fellow Queenslander Ash Barty took the mantle from Gavrilova (No.25) last week by moving to a career-best ranking of No.20.

"Not being the most highly ranked that's OK. It's good we can all do well,'' world No.41 Stosur said in Melbourne.

"It's fantastic to see Ash finish (the year) possibly top 20. That's awesome. I was really pleased to have played those last five events in Asia. I'm motivated and ready to go.''

Stosur declined to say where she would start her summer campaign. But her choice of the Brisbane International would appear likely, as her alternatives are Auckland or Shenzhen, China, in the week starting December 31.

Stosur, 33, played five tournaments at the end of the season after a hand injury forced her to miss Wimbledon and the US Open.

The best run was to a quarter-final at Hong Kong in which she beat world No.18 Agnieszka Radwanska.

Ash Barty will be hoping for a good Aus Open. Picture: Wayne Ludbey
Ash Barty will be hoping for a good Aus Open. Picture: Wayne Ludbey

"I will have a long pre-season and time to finetune things,'' Stosur said.

"I found it like I was refreshed after having all that time out. I know some of the players at the end of a long season can be pretty tired.''

Barty finishes her season this week at the WTA Elite Trophy event in Zhuhai, China, in which she is in a round-robin group with Angelique Kerber and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Meanwhile, Tennis Australia is still not inclined to guarantee Bernard Tomic a wildcard into summer tournaments.

Tomic's ranking has plummeted to 145th and if a wildcard isn't on offer he will be forced to compete in qualifying for the Australian Open and even need a wildcard into qualifying for the Brisbane International.

"We've reached out to Bernie from a health and wellbeing point of view and it's up to him to respond," TA chief and Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said.