Australian tennis champ Sam Stosur has shared the backstory behind her late-night decision to go public with her relationship with long-time partner Liz Astling in 2019.
Stosur (above right) spoke with journalist Neroli Meadows on sports podcast Ordineroli Speaking about coming out after the 2019 Newcombe Medal tennis awards.
That night, Stosur acknowledged Liz in a late night Instagram post after winning the Spirit of Tennis award.
“To my Mum, Dad, Daniel and Dom and my partner Liz, you have given me the love, support and every opportunity to pursue my dream and I’ll be forever grateful,” she wrote.
However Stosur said she’d originally intended to mention her partner on stage while accepting the award. While she had wanted to, she backed out at the last moment and very quickly regretted it.
“I accepted that award and got up there and made my speech. As I was [speaking] I was like, ‘No, I can’t do it’,” she said.
“Once I stepped off stage I was like, ‘What are you doing? You’ve just accepted this award, thanked all these people and the person who is really with you every single day, the person you have the most candid and open discussions with who you want to spend the rest of your life with, you can’t mention them on stage?’
“I was like, ‘Nah, that’s ridiculous, I don’t want to do that anymore’.
“We were walking back to the car to come home and I said, ‘I want to do this’. I think I hit send [on the post] at 3am or something.”
Flood of support after Sam Stosur came out
The next day, Sam Stosur said she woke up to a flood of supportive messages from loved ones.
“It felt so good just to open up that little bit more and have that truth of my relationship with her out there and just to finally say thank you to her,” she said.
“It just got to the point where I was sick of not being able to acknowledge her, first and foremost. I wanted to be able to say thanks.”
She said of her hesistation, “It’s just that stigma that’s attached to it all, which I think is getting better now, always scared me.
“Probably just to really open up was always hard for me.
“I came close and it was, ‘I don’t want to deal with this anymore, I’m just going to do it’ [but] I never did.
“I think it’s the right time when it happens, so I don’t have regrets. But I did wonder, would things have played out a little bit differently if I’d taken that leap before?
“You don’t realise [the weight of it] until you get it off your shoulders.
“That little bit of cautiousness around what you do… becomes tiring and becomes, ‘Why did I ever need to do that or why did I feel like I needed to do that?’ It could have been a whole lot simpler.
“You’ve just got to be completely honest with yourself. If that’s who you are and that’s who you want to be, in anything in life, that’s all that matters. Just enjoy it and embrace all of it.”
Sam and Liz became mums last year
Sam Stosur won the US Open in 2011 and has six grand slam doubles titles to her name, among other honours.
The player began her professional career in 1999. She achieved a career high singles ranking of fourth in the world in 2011.
Last year, Stosur announced she and partner Liz Astling were new mums to a baby girl.
She said she and Liz had welcomed baby Genevieve – nicknamed “Evie” – into the world last June.
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