As you make your way to the Billie Jean King Tennis Center, where the 2012 US Open will be played, you see a massive advertisement from American Express featuring a few players competing in the tournament. One of those players is 19-year old Sloane Stephens, and, with her beautiful smile, it is easy to see why she was selected.
Sloane also possesses great athleticism, something that is in her genetics. Her father, former New England Patriots running back John Stephens, and her mother, Sybil Smith, the first African-American woman to become a First Team Division I All-American as a swimmer, were both athletes.
Stephens has unfortunately dealt with loss in her life. She lost her stepfather to cancer after a two and a half year battle several years ago. Later, she lost her biological father as well, who died in a car crash on September 1, 2009.
Overcoming tragedy in her personal life, Stephens has had a breakthrough year in 2012, advancing to the fourth round of the 2012 French Open earlier this year, before losing to Samantha Stosur, the winner of the 2011 US Open. She also advanced to the third round of Wimbledon as well.
In the 2012 US Open, Stephens is looking to improve on the success she had in last year’s US Open, where she won her first Grand Slam match. She reached the third round as a wild card and has her eyes set on making it further this year. In a recent interview, she showcased her drive. “I want to be #1. I want to win tournaments. I could be #2 in the world, have tons of prize money and I still wouldn’t be satisfied. I want to be the best tennis player I can be,” she said. And she is well on her way.
In the first round of the tournament, Sloane will face Francesca Schiavone from Italy, the #22 seed in the tournament.