Australian tennis player Astra Sharma is excited to kicking off her 2022 season in Australia as she says Melbourne feels like at home.
“Melbourne feels like home,” Sharma said, per Tennis Australia.
“For 10 months of last year, it always felt like you were on someone else’s home ground, where the crowd support is always for someone else.
“Back here everyone knows who you are, and they are always friendly and smiling so it’s awesome being in Melbourne.”
Sharma, ranked at No. 98 in the world, captured her maiden WTA title in Charleston last year.
Sharma saw the picture of Sam Stosur in Charleston and from that she drew inspiration.
“I actually saw a picture of Sam on the walls of Charleston before we started and I was thinking about my practices with her and what a physically imposing player she is,” said Sharma.
“I thought ‘wow, I should probably try to emulate that on the clay’, so I tried to be athletic and strong like her and make the points really long.
“I did message her and her coach Stubbsy (Rennae Stubbs) about it afterwards, but I felt a bit weird.”
Sharma has nothing but great admiration for Stosur
Stosur is set to play her 20th and final Australian Open.
Stosur received a wildcard into the Australian Open as she is set to finish her singles career at the Australian Open.
Sharma hopes Stosur will stay in some role within tennis once she retires.
“Some really big shoes to fill for sure, she trailblazed for a lot of what we do today and especially for someone like me, who grew up idolising her,” Sharma related.
“She’s such a strong character on and off the court, she’s really professional and always really humble.
“I hope she stays in some role within tennis because that would be invaluable for all of us.”