© Ella Ling

Sloane Stephens

Meet the future of American tennis


Five things about Sloane Stephens, who has reached the third roundĀ of the US Open:

She is very excited about the posters of herself on the New York subway. “I just think it’s so cool. There’s a blow-up picture of me. I’m like, ‘wow, that is awesome’. Everyone else who walks by, I’m sure they’re like, ‘that’s awesome, that’s cool.’ No, I love myself. So seeing myself is like unbelievable. I don’t know if you feel that way, but when I see myself I like freak out.”

She doesn’t lack for confidence. And doesn’t mind talking about herself in the third person. Stephens was asked the other day whether she was American tennis’s next superstar. “She is,” she responded. As the New York Post put it: “Sloane Stephens doesn’t run from the pressure of being called the future of American women’s tennis – she welcomes it.”

Her father is a former NFL running back, John Stephens of the Patriots, and her mother Sybil Smith was an accomplished swimmer.

During tight matches, she is concerned about her grandmother in the stands: “My grandma, she gets so nervous. Poor thing, she has heart problems.”

She feels as though she knew Serena Williams in a past life: “Whenever we see each other, we’re laughing and giggling. I feel like I knew her in my past life or something, I don’t know. It’s so strange. Serena is just a good friend. I love her to death. She’s just a really good person. I enjoy her positivity, so it’s good. We just enjoy, have fun. We don’t really discuss tennis things. It’s more about life, general things.”