This weekend has been an exciting one in sports, and tennis player Sloane Stephens has been a one of trending topics amid the frenzy of excitement.
It was on Saturday (Saturday 9) that the 24-year old secured her very first Grand Slam title, beating out opponent and friend Madison Keys in the US Open Women’s Final. Naturally, since her win, her profile has been on the receiving end of much speculation as many scramble to learn more about the star athlete. Here’s a few facts to get you better acquainted with the champion.
1. She had to back out of 2016’s US Open after sustaining a foot injury.
Last August, Stephens was forced to drop out of the US Open after suffering a serious stress fracture in her right foot. The injury resulted in a surgery that left her out of the game for 11 months, remarkably returning to finish what she didn’t get a chance to start last year.
2. She’s currently dating U.S. Soccer player Jozy Altidore.
27-year old Jozy Altidore is best known as a forward on the Toronto FC soccer team and as a member of the United States National team. “I don’t think there’s been a more positive person in my corner that I’ve had,” Stephens told the New York Times of Altidore. “When I was on the peg leg (cast), I was with him, and I would always make fun of myself and he’d make fun of me. But he kept it really light for me, so I was never too sad.” Altidore wasn’t present for Sloane’s victory as he was taking to the field himself in an MLS game, finding out about her win through his mother who was in the stands at his match.
3. She’s beat both Williams sisters.
In 2013, a then 19-year old Stephens rose to prominence after beating Serena Williams, who she counts as an idol and inspiration, during the semifinals of the 2013 Australian Open. She also bagged a ‘W’ over the No. 9-seed Venus Williams on Thursday in order to move on to the finals where she ultimately took home the victory.
4. She comes from a family of athletes.
Notably Sloane’s parents are mother, Sybil Smith, the first African-American female All-American competitive swimmer who took sixth place in the 100m backstroke at the 1988 NCAA championships, and father, the late John Stephens, running back for the New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers, and Kansas City Chiefs.
5. She moves fast.
Just six weeks ago, her world ranking sat at a low 957th sport. By the time the US Open Finals were underway she’d shot up to a projected rank of 21. As this was prior to her victory over Keys, we’re sure her rank is comfortably sitting at an even more impressive figure.