Sloane Stephens Serves Spring’s Boldest Looks
Via Harper’s Bazaar
What’s going on with Sloane Stephens? That’s the question on the mind of anyone keeping up with tennis at the moment.
“My drive comes from my team,” the 24-year-old U.S. Open champion, who surprised fans by losing her first match at last week’s Australian Open, reveals to BAZAAR.com. “I have great people around me, always supporting me. I always remember—eventually I’m going to win a match.”
But for those not familiar with her story, let’s quickly rewind: By 2016, the rising tennis star had beaten Venus Williams, challenged Serena, and risen to the ranking of 25 in the world before she was forced to withdraw from that year’s U.S. Open due to a foot injury. Stephens was out of commission for 11 months before finally making her return at Wimbeldon in July, 2017—ranked 957. Nine hundred and fifty seven. She lost in straight sets the first round. Then, at the 2017 U.S. Open, with Serena Williams sitting out for maternity leave, all eyes were on the sport’s young talents, new names and past champions—and Sloane Stephens did the impossible.
After making it through each round and playing part in a historic all-American women’s semi-final, Stephens met her friend, Madison Keys, in the finals. Keys was ranked 15 at the time. Sloane won the championship title in under an hour, and then abandoned her post while the United States Tennis Association (USTA) set up the championship ceremony, in order to comfort Keys as she wept in disappointment. Since then, Sloane has not won a single match. Not one. But she’s not fazed by this.
“I like to take it practice by practice, match by match, tournament by tournament,” she explains. “It’s important to stay focused on the present and not get too caught up on the ‘what could be’ and the noise around you.” In the vein of staying positive, we took Stephens back to the site of her last victory, Arthur Ashe Stadium in the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, to serve her best shots—along with Spring 2018’s boldest looks. Stephens described the visit as surreal: “I’ve only ever seen Arthur Ashe filled with fans. It reminded me that I did actually win the U.S. Open.”
In main image, above: Dior Spring 2018, Look 77; Alexander McQueen Spring 2018 combat boots.
“It’s an honor to play against either of the Williams sisters. They both are incredible and have done so much for the game of women’s tennis and female sports overall. Win or lose: playing against Venus on the biggest stage of tennis is pretty special.”
“There’s a lot of pressure for female athletes and females in general. There’s a lot expected of us, but I try to ignore them and just be myself on and off the court.”
“Injury was pretty challenging. It was hard to sit on my couch for 11 months watching tennis, instead of playing. But a really great positive came out of it. When I was finally allowed to start hitting again, it was like I fell back in love with the sport. It’s important to stay focused on your recovery and remain in the present moment.”
“I started playing tennis at 9 years old. My mom is my biggest cheerleader. She guided me, pushed me, hugged me, fought for me and loved me unconditionally. It’s important that parents follow the needs of their individual children to provide the specific support they need.”
Sloane wears Rosie Assoulin Spring 2018, Look 25 top.
“My style is…fun. I’m super girly off the court, I love to wear dresses and skirts and heels. It allows me to express myself and who doesn’t like to wear a pair of Jimmy Choos?!”
Sloane wears Zac Posen Spring 2018 Look 45.
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View Sloane Stephens