Samantha Stosur needs only to strut down the hallways beneath Arthur Ashe Stadium to get her US Open juices flowing.
Stosur walks past a life-sized photo of herself winning the 2011 title every time she ventures from the locker room to a practice court at Flushing Meadows.
“It makes me smile every time,” said Stosur ahead of her first-round clash on Tuesday with Timea Babos.
“It’s always exciting coming back to New York, especially since 2011.”
But while her memories are special to reflect on, Stosur – who also has the distinction of being the last player to conquer grand slam chaser Serena Williams in New York – knows living in the past won’t help in 2015.
“It’s four years ago now. A lot’s happened since then and it doesn’t help me win my first match on Tuesday,” said Australia’s 22nd seed.
“It’s a nice thing to have in the back of your mind but you’ve got to focus on the here and now.”
In a twist of fate, Stosur’s first-round opponent beat the Queenslander in her last outing before the Open.
The Hungarian’s 7-6 (8-6) 4-6 7-5 victory in Cincinnati was Stosur’s third straight defeat, but the former champion remained upbeat about her 12th Open tilt.
“It’s kind of funny the way it works out, getting to play Babos again,” Stosur said.
“I’s a good opportunity to get out there and probably change a couple of things that I did from that match.
“I played well (last time) and she played very well and that’s the way it goes sometimes.
“It’s not the result that you ultimately want, but I certainly didn’t leave that tournament thinking I have to re-invent the wheel.”
Babos aside, Stosur has been handed the most inviting draw of Australia’s 14 Open hopefuls and, as ever, knows the key to another title push is surviving the first week and working into the tournament.
“I do feel like I tend to play better once I’ve got a bit of that momentum,” she said.
“Even if the first round is a bit scratchy, if you can get through that somehow things can change very quickly in tennis and sometimes it doesn’t take much to boost that confidence and make things a whole lot easier and a bit more fluid.”
Fellow Australians Jarmila Gajdosova and Ajla Tomljanovic also launch their campaigns on day two.
Gajdosova has a testing opener against 26th seed and two-time semi-finalist Flavia Pennetta, while Tomljanovic plays another Italian in Karin Knapp.