|Birth Day:||March 20, 1993|
|Birth Place:||Plantation, United States|
Versatile player well known for her upset of Serena Williams to reach the semifinals of the 2013 Australian Open. She won her first Grand Slam title at the 2017 US Open.
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She started playing tennis at the Sierra Sport and Racquet Club in Fresno, California, when she was 9 years old.
Stephens was born on March 20, 1993 in Plantation, Florida to Sybil Smith and John Stephens, both of whom were accomplished athletes. Her mother was the first African-American woman to be named a first-team All-American swimmer in Division I history. She is enshrined in the Boston University Athletic Hall of Fame and recognized as the greatest swimmer in the history of the university. Stephens's father was a Pro Bowl running back for the New England Patriots in the National Football League. Pro Football Hall of Famer Raymond Berry regarded him as the best athlete he had ever seen.
Smith left Stephens's father when she was a baby after his multiple arrests in 1994. She was raised by her mother and her stepfather, Sheldon Farrell, who married Smith in 1997 and worked as a business consultant. She has a younger half-brother, Shawn Farrell, who played baseball and football at Notre Dame High School outside of Los Angeles. Stephens did not talk with her biological father until she was 13 years old, when he expressed interest in getting to know her after being diagnosed with degenerative bone disease. Even though they only met a few times in person, the two of them developed a close relationship remotely. Stephens's stepfather died from cancer in 2007, while her biological father died in a car crash in 2009.
Stephens began competing in low-level events on the ITF Junior Circuit in 2006 at the age of 13. Her first breakthrough result came at the US Open in 2008, where she reached her first doubles final at a Grand Slam with Mallory Burdette. She then finished the year with a semifinal appearance at the high-level Orange Bowl tournament, a Grade A event.
Despite winning the second biggest title of her career, Stephens was unable to make the quarterfinals in any of her French Open preparation tournaments. The highlight of her clay-court season in the lead up to the French Open was the Fed Cup semifinals on the road against France, where she won both of her singles rubbers over Pauline Parmentier and Kristina Mladenovic to lead the United States to a 3–2 victory. Stephens entered the French Open having never reached the quarterfinals. However, she was able to produce her best result at the tournament, making it to the final. In the semifinals, Stephens won a rematch of the 2017 US Open final against Madison Keys, the first all-American semifinal there since 2002. Despite going up a set and a break, Stephens lost the final to world No. 1 Simona Halep, her first loss in a WTA singles final. Nonetheless, this run catapulted her to a career-high ranking of No. 4 in the world, making her the first American woman other than the Williams sisters to be ranked in the top 5 in singles since Lindsay Davenport in 2006.
Stephens played her first professional events on the ITF Women's Circuit in late 2007. In the spring of 2008, she received a qualifying wild card into her first WTA event, the Miami Open, where she lost her opening round match. She would lose in qualifying the next two years as well. Stephens also received wild cards into the US Open qualifying rounds for three consecutive years. In her first appearance in 2008, she defeated world No. 109 Melinda Czink while still only 15 years old, but was unable to advance to the main draw in any of these appearances. During the summer of 2008, Stephens won her first professional title in doubles at a low-level ITF $10K event in Wichita alongside partner Christina McHale.
Stephens began 2009 by winning her first two tournaments of the year, the Grade 1 USTA International Spring Championships and the Grade A Italian Open. Following these big titles, she only played in the remaining junior Grand Slam events in 2009 and 2010, while also skipping the Australian Open.
Stephens has played five seasons with World TeamTennis starting in 2009 when she debuted in the league with the New York Buzz, followed by a season with the Washington Kastles in 2014, the Philadelphia Freedoms in 2017 and 2018, and the New York Empire in 2019. It was announced that she will joining the Chicago Smash for their debut season, during the 2020 WTT season set to begin July 12 at The Greenbrier.
Roger Smith began coaching Stephens in early 2009 and worked with her for several years. With Smith as her coach, she became a top-ranked junior with three Grand Slam tournament doubles titles and also cracked the top 100 of the WTA rankings. In June 2012, Stephens switched coaches to David Nainkin in order to try to qualify for the 2012 Olympics. Although her ranking was high enough to qualify, she narrowly missed out on that goal as she was the fifth-highest ranked American with each country only being allotted at most four players in each draw. Nonetheless, under Nainkin, Stephens had her breakthrough tournament at the 2013 Australian Open and reached a career-best ranking of No. 11 in the world. She parted with him after the 2013 season in order to find a full-time coach. Nainkin had also been working with fellow American Sam Querrey that year. Stephens replaced him with Paul Annacone, who is better known for coaching two of the greatest players in tennis history in Pete Sampras and Roger Federer. She became the first woman to be coached by Annacone. Although the pair worked well together, Stephens split with Annacone in late 2014 after not matching the success from her previous year that season.
In 2010, Stephens partnered with Tímea Babos to win the doubles title at all three majors in which they participated. They became just the second pair of girls to win three Grand Slam tournament doubles titles in one season after Corina Morariu and Ludmila Varmužová in 1995. Stephens also reached at least the quarterfinals in each of the singles events. Her best singles result that year was a Grand Slam semifinal at the US Open, where she lost to Daria Gavrilova in a third set tiebreak.
In the middle of 2009, Stephens participated in World TeamTennis as a member of the New York Buzz. Although she seldom played on the pro tour that year, Stephens decided to turn pro in October following a strong junior season. In March 2010, Stephens qualified for the Indian Wells Open to make her WTA debut a week before turning 17. She defeated Lucie Hradecká in her first career main draw match before losing to the defending champion, 12th-seeded Vera Zvonareva. Her only other WTA tour win that year came at the Swedish Open in July. After starting the year ranked No. 802, she finished the 2010 season just inside the top 200 at No. 198.
Stephens has a 2–7 record against Halep. Halep won their first encounter in 2012 at the Barcelona Ladies Open. Stephens then won their next two meetings in early 2013, including a first round match at the Australian Open as part of her breakthrough semifinal run at the event. Both of these wins came before Halep entered the top ten in 2014. Since then, Halep has won all six of their encounters. Their two biggest matches came in 2018, both of which were three set finals. In the first such match, the French Open final, Halep came from a set down to defeat Stephens for her first Grand Slam title. This was only the fourth time in the previous 47 Grand Slam singles finals where the winner of the first set was unable to win the match. Their next big match, the final at the Canadian Open, was ranked as the match of the year by the WTA. Halep won the first set of the match after saving four set points, two while serving at 6–5 and two more in the tiebreak. After Stephens was able to push the match to three sets Halep was able to regroup and win the match. Prior to these finals, Stephens had never lost a final on the WTA Tour.
With an improved ranking, Stephens was able to play WTA Tour-level events the entire season. Early in the year, she played in her first Australian Open main draw and made it to the second round. Stephens then closed out the winter hard court season by qualifying for the Miami Open. Having played there every year since 2008, she picked up her first two main draw wins at the tournament, including the second one over No. 30 Sara Errani. In late April, Stephens made her Fed Cup debut in an away playoff tie against Ukraine. She won her only match, a doubles dead rubber with partner Liezel Huber, as the United States won the tie 5–0 to return to the top-level World Group in 2013.
At the Cincinnati Open in August, Stephens scored her second big upset of the year when she knocked out Sharapova, the No. 3 player in the world, in the second round. She lost in the next round to No. 15 Jelena Jankovic. Two weeks later, Stephens entered the US Open as the 15th seed, where she faced Williams again in the fourth round. This time, Williams avenged her Australian Open loss in straight sets and went on to win the tournament. Although Stephens continued to struggle outside of the majors after the US Open, she was named the second alternate for the WTA Tour Championships. She finished the year at world No. 12 and was one of only three players to make it to the second week of all four Grand Slam tournaments in 2013, along with Williams and Agnieszka Radwańska. Stephens also reached a career-high ranking of No. 11 in October and became the second-highest ranked American.
Stephens entered the US Open at No. 83 in the world, and still needed to use a protected ranking to be accepted into the main draw due to the entry deadline being over a month before the event. Her first upset of the tournament came in the second round over No. 10 Dominika Cibulková. In the fourth round, she defeated No. 33 Julia Görges to advance to her first US Open quarterfinal and her first major quarterfinal since Wimbledon in 2013. She then defeated No. 17 Anastasija Sevastova to set up the first all-American semifinals at a major since Wimbledon in 1985, and the first at the US Open since 1981. Her semifinal was against No. 9 Venus Williams. After two lopsided split sets, Stephens won a tight third set to reach her first Grand Slam singles final. Madison Keys won the other semifinal against CoCo Vandeweghe. Stephens closed out the tournament by defeating Keys in straight sets to win her first Grand Slam tournament title. She became the first American woman other than the Williams sisters to win a major title since Jennifer Capriati won the Australian Open in 2002 and the first to win the US Open since Lindsay Davenport in 1998. She also became the lowest-ranked US Open champion ever, and the fifth-lowest at any Grand Slam tournament.
Stephens has a 1–5 record against Serena Williams, with three of their matches coming in 2013 and the other three in 2015. Her only victory against Serena came at the 2013 Australian Open when she was still relatively unknown as a 19-year-old. The match win and her run into a Grand Slam singles semifinal garnered international attention and put her on the cusp of cracking the top 10 of the WTA rankings later in the season. With Serena entering the match in excellent form and also having defeated her much younger opponent earlier that month, Stephens was listed as high as a 16-to-1 underdog. All of their matches since have been contested at high-level Premier tournaments or Grand Slam tournaments. In 2015, Stephens won the first set of their encounters at the Indian Wells Open and the French Open, but ultimately lost in three sets in both instances.
Following the Australian Open, Stephens was forced to miss the United States's quarterfinal Fed Cup tie after aggravating her abdominal injury during her deep run at the tournament. When she returned to the court, this injury continued to hinder her performance as she did not defeat another top 50 opponent until after the clay court season. She played in the Fed Cup playoff tie in April and lost her only match against Sweden's Sofia Arvidsson. Nonetheless, the United States won the tie 3–2 to secure a place in the 2014 World Group. Despite these struggles, Stephens produced another good Grand Slam tournament result at the French Open, where she defeated three unseeded opponents – none ranked higher than No. 92 – to reach the fourth round. She then lost to world No. 2 Maria Sharapova. Stephens continued her Grand Slam tournament success at Wimbledon by making it to the quarterfinals, again without defeating a seeded opponent. She lost to the eventual champion Marion Bartoli. Her best win at these two majors came in the first round of Wimbledon against world No. 25 Jamie Hampton.
Stephens began 2014 at the Hopman Cup with John Isner. The two Americans finished the round-robin in third place in their group, with only one rubber win against Spain. Stephens also withdrew from her last match with a wrist injury. She was able to recover in time to open her WTA season at the Australian Open. A year after her breakthrough, she reached the fourth round and was again defeated by world No. 2 Victoria Azarenka for the second consecutive year. Her next successful tournament came in March at the Indian Wells Open. Here, Stephens upset No. 13 Ana Ivanovic in the third round and went on to reach her first quarterfinal at a Premier Mandatory event.
Stephens briefly worked with Thomas Högstedt in late 2014. At the start of 2015, she returned to her longtime junior coach, Nick Saviano. While working with Saviano, Stephens won her first WTA title, but did not manage to ascend back up the WTA rankings. In the 2015 offseason, she replaced him with Kamau Murray. With Murray as her coach, Stephens established herself as one of the best players in women's tennis. She has since won five of her six titles, including three in 2016, her first major at the 2017 US Open, and her first Premier Mandatory title in 2018. She has also reached a new career-high ranking at No. 3 in the world. Stephens split with Murray during the 2018 offseason before reuniting with him in August 2019 shortly before the US Open. In Murray's absence, Stephens had worked with Sven Groeneveld for three months.
Stephens had frequently been regarded as a potential successor to Serena Williams to become the next top American women's tennis player, if not the best in the world. She grew up as a fan of the Williams sisters, but had lost some of her interest in them after they did not sign autographs at a Fed Cup tie that Stephens attended at age 12. She considered them to be friends when she was starting out on the pro tour, but described Serena as simply a colleague in early 2015. Her relationship with Serena became strained after their match at the 2013 Australian Open. After Stephens's victory against her at the tournament, Serena commented, "I made you," in a tweet believed to be directed at Stephens and did not speak to her younger compatriot until at least May. Nonetheless, Stephens has said the two of them still had a good relationship.
In contrast to previous years where Stephens struggled at smaller tournaments while still doing well at bigger tournaments, she struggled at the Grand Slam tournaments and high-level Premier events in 2016. Her best Grand Slam tournament results of the year came at the French Open and Wimbledon, where she reached the third round at both events. She also lost in the first round of the Australian Open for the second consecutive year, this time to a qualifier. Stephens's last tournament of the year was the 2016 Rio Olympics, which ended with a first round loss to Eugenie Bouchard. After the Olympics, Stephens revealed she had been hindered by a left foot injury for most of the year, for which doctors recommended time off to recover. She finally did end her season upon being diagnosed with a stress fracture. Although she was initially expected to only miss several months, it was later discovered that she would need surgery that would keep her out for the first half of 2017 as well. At the time of her last WTA event of the year at the end of July, Stephens was ranked No. 22 in the world.
Stephens has a 3–1 record against Madison Keys, winning their first three matches in straight sets. After their first meeting in the second round of the 2015 Miami Open, their next two encounters were both two of the most important matches of their careers. In 2017, Stephens defeated Keys in the final of the US Open to win her first major title. She then won their next meeting in the semifinals of the 2018 French Open to reach her second Grand Slam singles final. Keys defeated Stephens for the first time in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Charleston Open.
In late 2017, Stephens graduated from Indiana University East with a bachelor's degree in communications studies. She finished her degree while recovering from foot surgery earlier in the year. She credits her time away from playing tennis that was spent on her studies and her job with the Tennis Channel for improving her perspective on being a professional tennis player.
Stephens and Halep have built a rivalry centered around their highest profile matches in 2018. Because Halep has dominated their matches, Stephens has downplayed their rivalry, saying, "It's not a rivalry if you don't beat the person." International Tennis Hall of Famer Chris Evert has praised their rivalry, saying, "I liked [their match in the 2018 Canadian Open final] a lot, because that is a contrast in personalities and styles, in moods, in coaches. That is a definite contest."
Currently, Sloane Stephens is 30 years, 0 months and 3 days old. Sloane Stephens will celebrate 31st birthday on a Wednesday 20th of March 2024.
Find out about Sloane Stephens birthday activities in timeline view here.