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Thursday, 22 September 2011
Page: 11298


Mr CHRISTENSEN (Dawson) (11:48): I would like to add my congratulations to Sam Stosur on her win in the US Open. The grand slam title is well deserved and comes as no surprise as Aussie tennis fans have followed Sam's career closely and have watched this star steadily rising. While this title is a further boost to Sam Stosur's career, it is also another boost to sport across this nation. It is a reminder to young girls, in particular, that reaching the heights of this international sport and many other international sports is possible. I am sure this month will see thousands of youngsters picking up a tennis racquet, probably for the first time, or just renewing their interest in the sport and helping to develop a more active and healthy future for Australia.

It is unfortunate that my electorate of Dawson cannot lay claim to Sam Stosur as a constituent, but I would like to raise a distinctively North Queensland piece of Stosur history. It is a story that was repeated in the Townsville Bulletin the day after Sam's historic US Open win. Ten years ago, Sam Stosur played in the Australian Unity Home Hill International, which is in my electorate. She was playing well and was on a 25-match winning streak, including the pro-tour North Queensland series in Cairns. However, the 17-year-old Stosur lost her quarter final match in Home Hill. Home Hill fan Kate Casswell last week reported that she could not remember if Stosur had won or lost the quarter final but remembered the future star standing out with her ability to serve and volley. Of the match, Ms Casswell said, 'The reason I remember her game was because her game was scheduled to be played at 7 pm but there was a cane fire and smoke was wafting across the court so they had to delay the start.'

Mr Hartsuyker: Only in the country!

Mr CHRISTENSEN: Only in the country; only in the Burdekin! The match was in October 2001 and, at this time of year, the Burdekin sugar industry is firing cane fields in preparation for the crush. It is an impressive sight, in an iconic part of North Queensland—although I am not sure if Sam would have such fond recollections, given that she may have lost there. But it was certainly a memorable night for Home Hill, and I am sure young tennis players across the Burdekin, North Queensland and the rest of Australia will be inspired to follow their dreams in the same way that Sam Stosur has followed hers. So my congratulations to Sam Stosur, her family and the team around her that helped bring this honour to our nation.