SYDNEY, Sept 12, 2011 (AFP) - Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Monday praised Sam Stosur's "outstanding" US Open victory, saying it would encourage the next generation to pick up a tennis racket.
The 27-year-old Queenslander stunned three-time champion Serena Williams 6-2, 6-3 to win the first Grand Slam title of her career in New York on Sunday.
In doing so she became the first Australian woman to claim the US Open since Margaret Court in 1973, and the first to win a Grand Slam title since Evonne Goolagong won Wimbledon in 1980.
"Her 6-2 6-3 win over Serena Williams topped off an outstanding tournament, including prevailing in the longest-ever women's match at the US Open," said Gillard.
Stosur's path to the final included a third-round victory over Nadia Petrova that lasted a US Open women's record three hours and 16 minutes.
"She displayed great skill and poise to overcome obvious nerves to beat the crowd favourite," added Gillard.
"She has shown great determination and skill to win the US Open and everyone involved with tennis in Australia will be celebrating with her today."
Gillard added that it boded well for the future of Australian tennis.
"Her win will encourage the next generation of young Australian players to take to the court," she said in a joint statement with Sports Minister Mark Arbib.
"This is a great achievement and shows the future of Australian tennis is on the rise following other Grand Slam successes earlier this year, with Ashleigh Barty and Luke Saville winning the junior titles at Wimbledon."
Stosur's family watched the match at home on Australia's Gold Coast and said the victory would be life-changing.
"I think we're all in a bit of shock actually," her brother Daniel told ABC radio.
"Not that she won but just in the manner in which she did it. I think we're all just a bit stunned.
"I think this is life-changing," he added. "I think she's going to be inspiring young kids to get out and play."