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Thursday, 22 September 2011
Page: 11304

Ms O'DWYER (Higgins) (12:13): I think that was a wonderful speech by the member for Ryan and I share in all the sentiments that she expressed. In fact, I stand here today on behalf of my constituents in Higgins to also congratulate Sam Stosur for her wonderful achievement in winning the 2011 US Open. She has, in doing that, sealed her place in the pantheon of Australian sporting legends. She has done her country proud. She joins such luminaries as Margaret Court, the last woman to win the US Open in 1973, as well as Evonne Goolagong Cawley, who won her second Wimbledon in 1980, which of course was the last time an Australian woman won a grand slam tournament. It has been a long time between drinks, but what a win it was. To defeat Serena Williams, a 13-time major championship winner, was an achievement. It was an achievement that all of us congratulate her for. It is a particularly significant achievement when you also consider that this is Sam Stosur's very first win. She is 27 years of age, which is an age when many sporting commentators say that people are past their prime. I am delighted that she has been able to prove those people wrong, and has been able to prove it with such aplomb. Sam Stosur has gone through a number of battles, as has been mentioned, throughout her tennis career. The most significant, of course, was her battle with Lyme disease, which took her off the circuit and forced her to evaluate her tennis career. However, she demonstrated to all Australians just how you go about being a winner: through perseverance, through dedication, through hard work and, of course, through skill. She was able to achieve that, and we saw that just recently.

But she had many achievements before this grand slam win. In fact, she has been on the circuit for quite some time, starting at the very tender age of 13 at the World Youth Cup in Jakarta, her first international tournament. At 14 she became very serious about tennis, joining the Queensland Academy of Sport under Geoff Masters, and in 2001, at the age of 16, she joined the Australian Institute of Sport's tennis program. She is a doubles champion, winning the US Open doubles final in 2005, and was a runner-up in the Australian Open doubles in 2006. She won the French Open doubles in 2006 and was ranked No. 1 doubles player in the world with partner Lisa Raymond in that year. Unfortunately, she was not able to defeat Francesca Schiavone, the winner of the French Open, in 2010, but she came very close and we congratulate her for persevering and becoming such a wonderful champion, as demonstrated with her terrific win at the US Open.

She is a very inspirational player. She is somebody who is a great role model for all Australians, but in particular young women. I know that for many years to come she will take that role very seriously not only in the way that she continues to achieve on the court but also in the contribution she makes off the court. So we congratulate Sam Stosur; her mother, Dianne; her father, Tony; and her brothers, Dominic and Daniel. We congratulate all of those people who have helped her to achieve in her career, because nobody achieves these things alone; and we congratulate, most importantly, Sam Stosur.