The meteoric rise of Sloane Stephens
After staying away from tennis for 11 months due to an injury, Sloane Stephens came back to tour two months ago and has been unstoppable on hard courts ever since. Stephens began the hard court season with Citi Open, ranked No. 957. She will now play her first Grand Slam final, at the US Open, with No. 22 ranking. Let's look at her journey.
Breakthrough at 19 and the lull that followed
As a 19-year-old, Sloane Stephens broke into the international scene by beating Serena Williams to reach the Semis of 2013 Australian Open. The same year she also made it to the Wimbledon quarter-finals. Stephens was hailed as the next big thing in American tennis but lacked consistency in the following years and failed to live up to the lofty expectations.
Mental stress in early career
Talking about the burden she felt post 2013 Australian Open, Stephens said, "It wasn't fun..When someone says, 'Just have fun, enjoy it', at that time in 2013, I'd say: 'this is stressful.. this is Oh-my-God-you-beat-Serena.' So many things were happening that I couldn't really stop."
Injury-ridden period provides time to reflect
Following the first round loss at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Stephens sustained a left foot injury forcing a break from tennis. She credits her rehabilitation time for her renewed passion for the sport. Spending her lengthy away time with family proved fruitful and when she got back to playing, she felt, "This is where I want to be. This is what I love doing."
On the road to US Open final
Having begun her US Open campaign unseeded, Sloane Stephens beat the likes of Roberta Vinci, Dominika Cibulkova, Ash Barty, Julia Goerges, Anastasija Sevastova, and Venus Williams, on her way to reach the final.Share this timeline