So exactly who is this 19-year-old young tennis whiz kid Sloane Stephens (pictured)? Do we know much about the young dynamo who beat Serena Williams (both pictured below), the best American women’s tennis player to ever swing a racket, during day 10 of the 2013 Australian Open at Melbourne Park? Well, inquiring minds want to know and NewsOne is here to clue you in on the young girl with the heart of a true tennis champion.
1) Stephens has idolized both Serena and Venus Williams ever since she could remember. As a matter of fact, she has a photo of her mentor, Serena, in her room who serves as her constant inspiration for the game.
2) Stephens’ mom, Sybil, is also an athlete. She was a swimmer at Boston University (BU) and is actually touted on the BU Hall of Fame webpage as “the finest swimmer in Boston University history!” Sybil, who graduated from BU in 1988, qualified for the Olympic Trials in three events, and later became an assistant coach at Harvard.
3) The Plantation, Fla., native is currently the youngest woman in the Women’s Tennis Association Top 40.
4) Stephen’s dad, John, was a professional football player who was selected by the New England Patriots in the first round of the 1988 draft and remained for six seasons. He was tragically killed in an automobile accident in 2009 at age 43. John passed away right at the start of the U.S. Open on that year, and Stephens attended his funeral and remained entered in the Open.
5) The sport of tennis was introduced to Stephens by her mom when she was 9 years old.
Watch highlights of Sloane beating Serena here:
6) Stephens, who has been home schooled since age 12, graduated high school in 2011.
7) In 2007, Stephens played her first professional events on the International Tennis Federation Circuit.
8) Stephens’ grandfather has had the greatest influence on her life.
9) After Stephens beat Serena at the 2013 Brisbane International quarterfinals, she moved up from a ranking of world No. 38 to a career high of No. 29.
Watch Stephens being interviewed here, after being beating Serena:
10) The young player who is excited that her Twitter following has increased from 17,000 to now more than 40,000 after the match, earned a whopping $526,793 for reaching the semifinals. Stephens doesn’t plan on squandering it, though! Instead, Stephens wants to buy herself a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes and is banking the rest.