"My time for singles is finished" - Stosur explains coming out of retirement for Strasbourg event

Australian champion Sam Stosur has stunned the tennis community by coming out of retirement for a one-off appearance at the Internationaux de Strasbourg on Sunday.

Last year, Stosur announced that the 2022 Australian Open would be her last, with the Queenslander deciding to focus solely on doubles after the Melbourne-based grand slam tournament, where she was knocked out by Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the second round.

However, tennis pundits were left baffled when the 38-year-old appeared on the draw for the clay-court tournament in France, where she played local star Harmony Tan in the round of 32 — the 1064th singles match of her professional career.

“Didn’t think I’d be doing this again until two days ago,” Stosur posted to Instagram on Sunday. “Nice feeling and emotions being to play on this court in singles again.”

Stosur suffered a straight sets 6-2 6-1 defeat, with Tan progressing through to the round of 16 where she will face Belgium’s Maryna Zanevska.

Speaking to reporters after the loss, Stosur explained that event organizers had been looking around for someone to replace a late dropout. The 2010 US Open champion had previously won the Strasbourg singles tournament in 2015 and 2017.

“If Roland Garros calls me and says, ‘You wanna play?’, sure,” she laughed. “But, no, my time for singles is finished. This wasn’t a comeback to singles, it was just a good opportunity. It was good, it was fun, considering I didn’t know I was competing here until a couple of days ago.

"Going into here was a difficult scenario, but mostly I was just excited to get another chance of playing singles in a place where I’ve had a lot of success and enjoy myself.

“Overall, I actually hit the ball really well — I hit some balls as if it were five years ago when the ball was going exactly where I wanted it to! But on other points, she was making me move side to side and it was hard.”

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