Dellacqua out of Sydney

Australian tennis star Casey Dellacqua admitted she’s struggling to cope with heightened expectations after a disappointing exit from the Sydney International on Monday.

Dellacqua was far from the player who caught the public’s imagination on her run to the last 16 at Australian Open 2008 as Italian Sara Errani claimed a 6-1 6-2 victory in under an hour at Ken Rosewall Arena.

The world No.53 said Monday’s game was one she would rather forget as pressure to repeat her 2008 heroics in Melbourne started to play on her mind.

“Today I didn’t really feel myself out there purely because I think I put way too much pressure on myself and my expectations, and I just didn’t cope with the situation well,” Dellacqua said.

“Last year obviously I had nothing to lose and I could go out there and swing. I did that for a lot of last year actually, for 2008.

“I played some great tennis and played the way I know that I can play.

“This year, obviously I’m going in with a little bit more expectation and pressure.

“I have to learn to deal with that as best I can in the next week leading up to the Australian Open.”

The performance was a disappointing one by Dellacqua, who showed little of the fight Queenslander Sam Stosur displayed in her first round exit to No.1 seed Serena Williams on Sunday.

Dellacqua has now lost three of her four singles matches in 2009.

The West Australian missed three break points in the first set and then lost her way with her serve in the second, committing three double faults.

And Dellacqua said she had a couple of plans in mind to try and return to the mindset that saw her climb as high as No.39 in the world rankings last year.

“Obviously I’ll sit down with my coach [Nicole Pratt]. I communicate with her fantastically,” she said.

“But, yeah, I’ll be talking … to a lot of people that, I guess, I’m relaxed around.

“Maybe find some things to do in the next week that make me relaxed. Go have dinner with friends and just … try not to think about it too much or put too much pressure on myself.”

Video: watch Casey’s press conference