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Thursday, 22 September 2011
Page: 11298

Ms GAMBARO (Brisbane) (11:50): I would also like to add to those of other speakers my sincere congratulations to Sam Stosur on her victory at the US Open. It has been an amazing achievement for Australia and an amazing achievement for Sam. Sam is now the first Australian female singles Grand Slam champion in 31 years after Evonne Goolagong Cawley.

Sam was born in Brisbane, so I will claim that ownership of her. She trained at the Queensland Academy of Sport and the Australian Institute of Sport. At the age of 12, Sam Stosur was discovered by Robert Beak at a Brisbane tennis court and ever since she has been a great tennis icon.

Samantha joins the ranks of tennis greats such as Margaret Smith Court, who is regarded by some as the greatest female tennis player of all time, and former World No. 1 Evonne Goolagong Cawley, who was one of the world's leading players in the 1970s and 1980s, when she won 14 Grand Slam titles: seven in the singles—four Australian Open, two Wimbledon and one French Open—six in the women's doubles, and one in the mixed doubles. And before Margaret and Evonne, Australia heralded the success of Nancye Wynne Bolton in 1951 when she won her sixth singles title at the Australian Open championship. To quote Pat Rafter, Stosur is a great role model for the next generation of players, because of her persistence and work ethic. 'She's a great girl and she's worked really hard,' he said. So we congratulate Sam on her wonderful achievement.

Women's tennis in Australia is extremely healthy, with Sam Stosur leading the way and providing a positive role model for our next generation. Nicole Pratt has been appointed AIS head women's coach and is working with both the younger athletes and some of Australia's top female players. So the sport is in very good hands. I want to take this opportunity to wish Australia's next generation of female players, the ones who are training with the AIS, all the very best for the future. The current squad includes a couple of Queenslanders—there are always a few Queenslanders there to help lead the way—Isabella Holland and Ashleigh Barty. There are also a couple of Victorians: Sally Peers and Belinda Woolcock. These young women would no doubt be interested to know that women's tennis tournaments in Australia date back more than 100 years, and interstate tennis was established by 1908, when the Queensland Ladies' Interstate Tennis Team counted as its team members May Thurlow, Maud Larad, Eva Thurlow and Florence Horton.

In my electorate of Brisbane, the Fancutt Tennis Centre and Coaching Academy is celebrating 50 years of existence this year. In this time the tennis centre has been owned and run by the Fancutt family, all five of whom are former Wimbledon players. Daphne Fancutt, then known as Seeney—she is the aunt of the Queensland opposition leader, Jeff Seeney—was the 1956 Wimbledon ladies doubles finalist and the 1956 Australian Open singles semifinalist. Former World No. 1 players, people like Steffi Graf, Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg and Ivan Lendl are among the top players who, along with so many locals and visitors, have enjoyed a hit at the Fancutt Tennis Centre in Lutwyche in my electorate. There have been many young students who have started playing tennis there and who have gone on to play at Wimbledon—something that we should be very proud of. The first two great tennis players to do that were Wendy Turnbull and Geoff Masters. With all of this tennis history, I am absolutely thrilled to be here today to again congratulate Sam Stosur on her achievement in winning the US Open. Sam, we are so very proud of you. All of Australia cheered. We wish you and your teammates all the very best for the future. Well done.