Australian tennis star Ashleigh Barty has nothing but love and respect for fellow compatriot Sam Stosur.
Stosur, 37, is set to finish her singles career at the Australian Open.
Stosur, ranked at No. 487 in the world, received a wildcard for the Australian Open.
“I love watching Sam. I love being around Sam,” Barty said on Saturday, per the Australian Open website.
“I remember the first time I hit with Sam, it was here at Melbourne Park. We hit on Show Court 3. I’ve been extremely lucky to share some really cool moments over my career with her, and her career as well.
“More than that, she’s created and paved this path for so many of the Australian youth to come through and be guided by her in a positive way.”
Barty is going to miss Stosur
“She is our champion. She is going to be very missed,” Barty added.
Stosur suggested she felt a bit of a relief after deciding when her singles career was going to end.
“I feel like since I made that decision, (on) 3 December, that was way worse than what it feels like now,” Stosur said.
“(Before it was) not knowing, one day thinking this, one day thinking that, not being able to decide.
“I remember calling ‘Stubbsy’ (coach Rennae Stubbs) one day. She’s like, ‘All right, what are you doing today?’ Having a laugh about it.
“Actually once I made the decision, then I felt really good about it.”
Stosur, a former world No. 4, was drawn to meet Robin Anderson in the Australian Open first round.
Stosur is also set to feature in the Australian Open women’s and mixed doubles events.
Meanwhile, Barty is focused on winning her first Australian Open title.
Barty, who captured her first Wimbledon title last year, is hoping to deliver at Melbourne Park this year and delight the local crowd.