Sloane Stephens is a supremely successful American tennis player, carrying on in the footsteps of her legendary predecessors Venus and Serena Williams. She won the US Open in 2018 and reached the Roland Garros final in 2017, even breaking into the top 5 of the WTA rankings.
Considering her young age, her athletic prowess and her mental strength, Stephens is expected to earn many more accolades in the coming years.
Best finish at each of the four Grand Slams:
Australian Open: Semifinalist (2013)
French Open: Runner-up (2018)
Wimbledon: Quarterfinalist (2013)
US Open: Champion (2018)
Highest Ranking: No. 3
Style of play
Stephens is a defensive counterpuncher by nature, and usually stands well behind the baseline. She likes to absorb the pace coming from the other side of the net and redirect the ball using her hand-eye coordination, and wins a majority of her points by forcing her opponents into errors.
That said, Stephens is blessed with plenty of power on her own, and can knock off winners when she gets short balls. She has a fairly quick first serve which she uses to set up her forehand. She also has a strong return, which she uses to neutralize even the hardest of serves.
Strengths and weaknesses
Stephens' biggest strength is her speed around the court. No shot is too big for her, and her 2018 US Open win was largely set up by her incessant and clever retrieving.
Her forehand can be a point-ending shot, as she hits it with both pace and spin. Her composure in the face of adversity is also one of her major plus points; she has pulled off many great escapes in her short career already.
Stephens' tendency to become too defensive can become a liability at times. She has often been called out by experts for her passivity on the court; despite possessing as much firepower as any player on the tour, she refuses to take charge of points and instead waits for her opponents to make errors.
Stephens was born in Plantation, Florida, and is of Trinidadian descent. Her athletic prowess is not surprising given both her parents were successful sportspersons. Her father John Stephens played American football in the NFL and represented the New England Patriots, while her mother Sybil Smith is considered the greatest swimmer in the history of Boston University.
John and Sybil separated in 1994, after which Sloane moved with her mother to Fresno, California. She started playing tennis at the age of nine, which is late by professional standards, but her talent was such that she was immediately advised to move out of California and join a big training institute.
Stephens moved to Florida in 2004 and eventually trained at both the Evert Tennis Academy and the Nick Saviano High Performance Tennis Academy.
With the Williams sisters slowly but surely getting close to retirement, it has been left to Stephens to keep the American flag flying high in tennis. So far, she has done a very good job of that.
Social media presence:
Sloane Stephens Instagram: @sloanestephens
Sloane Stephens Twitter: @SloaneStephens