A year on from her summer from hell, Samantha Stosur says there is no reason why she cannot bounce back and win the Australian Open.
Despite candidly confessing to stage fright after first-round losses in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne last January, Stosur is brimming with belief entering 2013.
"I've got as good a chance as any of the girls up there," Stosur said.
"I won the US Open last year, so why not?
"I know that I can compete and beat the best girls in the world, so I'd like to think it's possible."
Far from shying away, Australia's world number nine is vowing to stare down her mental demons and says reliving the pain of last summer is pivotal to hurdling the psychological barriers next month.
"I think you've got to realise what happened and why and what you did wrong and what you can improve on to not make the same mistakes again this coming year," she said.
"Last summer I just froze and played really tight tennis and wasn't free. I was too passive and didn't do what I needed to do.
"That has happened a few times and it's a matter of realising that in the moment and just taking that chance to do more rather than letting your opponent continue to dictate."
After urgings from coach David Taylor and ongoing sessions with her long-time sports psychologist, Ruth Anderson, Stosur has resolved to be more aggressive in the pressure points that will ultimately define her summer campaign.
"I don't play my best tennis when I'm letting my opponent dictate," she said.
"A lot of the top girls don't, so you've got to realise that in the moment rather than when you're off the court and thinking 'I should have done this and I should have done that'.
"If I had a second chance, that's the one thing I probably want to try and improve this year."
Stosur insists "there's no secret formula" to coping with the hype and expectations that inevitably accompany Australia's big home hope at Melbourne Park.
"There's no point in trying something completely new," the Queenslander said.
"The key is you can't go into one of the most important times of the year that you want to do well in and expect that doing something completely different is going to work.
"Obviously you tweak things here and there, but I'm not going to all of a sudden change my whole routine between points or anything like that.
"I don't think that's going to be beneficial."
Stosur will open her summer at the Brisbane International on December 30 before contesting the Sydney International the following week.
Both events have red-hot fields.
"You can't really get two tougher tournaments before a grand slam let alone the first one of the year," Stosur said.
"It's going to be really tough, a really good way to see the benchmark and what you've got to do to improve before Melbourne.
"But everything's going well and I feel like I'm in a good spot at the moment with another week and a bit to go before Brisbane.
"I'm sure by the time I play my first match, I'll be as ready as I'll ever be."
AAPTags: tennis, sport, brisbane-4000, qld, australia First posted December 21, 2012 13:51:23