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Speaking Candidly

Sam’s Educative Loss at Roland Garros

She drew on a wide range of  skills to execute a planned strategy to dampen and disrupt her opponent’s power game.


Australian Sam Stoser’s loss in the 2010 French Open tennis final will hopefully provide a timely lesson regarding her future at the highest level of the game.

In taking out the title at the Roland Garros Tennis Stadium in Paris, France, the 29 old Italian, Francesca Schiavone, previously ranked number 17 in the world, proved she was a deserving championship winner. Learning from her previous match defeats by the Australian, she drew on a wide range of  skills and executed a planned strategy to dampen and disrupt her opponent’s power game. For those fortunate to see the match, her performance was an outstanding display of court craft and shot making choices.

For Sam Stoser, a realistic post match review of her final, will reveal the need to both improve her court craft skills and add to her shot making options.  i.e.  (top spin or high sliced lobs can destroy a net rushing opponent)  ( running around the backhand to play a forehand shot rather than the backhand invites opponents to attack the weaker side on serve and offers an open court on return).

The Italian’s game fed on the emotion of a block of Italian fans, including her family, wearing T shirts  emblazoned with a message proclaiming “nothing is impossible”.  After every winning shot she acknowledged them and was rewarded in return.  Adrenalin fixes such as these can raise a player’s level of self belief and performance. The T shirted, message bearing supporters became her focus – theirs was the only acclaim she sought – these were the only voices she wanted to hear.  On cue, they delivered – and her growing self confidence was evident.

For Signorina Schiavone that day, peripheral audibility surrounding the red clay heart of Roland Garros must have seemed faint collateral noise. The interaction with her fan base somehow appeared to isolate Sam Stoser and the effect was inescapable. As the match progressed the Australian’s shot selections became more predictable and her returns often appeared hurried, such was the Italian player’s growing confidence, control, unpredictability and focus.

This was the kind of contest that tennis fans everywhere could appreciate and be inspired by.  Both finalists were a credit to their sport. They deserve our congratulations for their play, sportsmanship and grace.

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