August 28, 2018

Player Feature: Sloane Stephens – From World Number 957 to Grand Slam Winner

The Rising Star

Full Name: Sloane Stephens

Birthdate: March 20, 1993

Place of Birth: United States

Playing Years: 2009 to present

Award(s): ESPY 2018 Best Female Tennis Player Award

2017 U.S. Open Grand Slam Champion

2012-2017 United States Fed Cup Team

2016 U.S. Olympic team

Top 50 Hottest Female Athletes of 2015


Formative Years:

Born to parents with athletic backgrounds in collegiate swimming and professional American football, Sloane Stephens was definitely intended for greatness. At the early age of nine, she took up tennis and quickly displayed ability for the sport. She attended the Saviano High Performance Tennis Academy to further develop her skills. After turning to professional tennis in 2009, Sloane topped a successful junior tennis career, eventually winning the junior French, Wimbledon and US Open doubles titles in 2010. At the same time, Sloane also became the youngest player in the Top 100 at 18 years old. Way back when she was just starting her career as a professional tennis player, Sloane Stephens very much admired Serena Williams, papering her bedroom walls with picture of the tennis star who served as her inspiration. At the age of 19, Sloane made her breakthrough in the tennis scene when she defeated her idol, Serena Williams, in the 2013 Australian Open quarterfinals to reach her first Grand Slam semifinal. Today, Stephens is considered as one of Williams’ rivals.  


Tennis Career:

Five months after defeating Serena Williams during the Australian Open, Stephens humbly progressed to the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the first time but losing the title to eventual-champion Marion Bartoli. In August 2015, she won her first Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) title at the Citi Open where she beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the finals. In 2017, she won her first Grand Slam at the U.S. Open, beating Madison Keys in the finals. Stephens’ serve, heavy forehand, athleticism and inclination to finish points at net make her one of the game’s top young prospects. Also known for her dominant forehand, athletic court coverage and pleasing smile, Sloane has gradually ascended in the rankings. She has numerous successful runs in the Grand Slams—reaching the Australian open semifinals (2013), the quarters at the Wimbledon (2013), and the fourth round of both the French and US Opens. She has also won four professional tournaments: Citi Open (2015), ASB Classic (2016), Abierto Telcel Open (2016), and the Volvo Car Open (2016).


After the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Sloane took an extended leave from the tour to recuperate from her foot injury. She was also forced to drop out of the US Open after suffering a severe stress fracture in her right foot. The injury resulted in a surgery that left her sidelined for 11 months, and was placed 957th in the tennis world rankings before extraordinarily returning to finish what she didn’t get the opportunity to start in 2016. During her recovery, she launched a new broadcasting career with the Tennis Channel, exploring and discovering the tennis world with numerous interviews and insights from a tour player’s point of view. She came back to the WTA tour in the summer of 2017, boasting outstanding results in both Cincinnati and Toronto.  Sloane Stephens’ comeback in the 2017 U.S. Open was absolutely remarkable. Stephens, who jumped for more than 900 spots in the world rankings, is now a grand slam champion, winning against No. 15 seed Madison Keys. Sloane made her comeback completely worthwhile by bagging her 6th title at the 2018 Miami Open, and was a finalist for the first time at the 2018 French Open. Right now, the Grand Slam tournaments for this year’s U.S. Open are already underway, and Sloane Stephens is definitely ready to once again take the spotlight and defend her crown.

By @EliaasMJ

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