April 22, 2018

Congratulations, US Open Champion Sloane Stephens! You're #BlackExcellence!

11 September 2017, 12:08 | Ken Black

Sloane Stephens

Sloane Stephens

From there, Murray said, Stephens progressed to sitting while rolling around on an armless office chair.

"I should just retire now", Stephens joked as she accepted her winnings. I think that if it was the other way around she would do the same for me.

"I obviously didn't play my best tennis and Sloane was very supportive".

However, Stephens gave an indication of her down-to-earth attitude when she sat down for a chat with her vanquished opponent on court and later revealed that one of the highlights of her day had been spotting actor James Spader in the stands. "That's what real friendship is".

"I don't really think about it at all", she said. She reached the semifinals at Toronto and Cincinnati before heading into the Open.

"I had surgery January 23", Stephens said. She is now the U.S. Open champion. Once I kind of let that go and just realized that whatever is meant to be is going to be, I worked hard to get here and a lot of that stress was relieved. But those who have watched her over the years believe Stephens has always had this potential. Her career earnings heading into this tournament were $4,519,709, with $310,546 coming this year. "To get to play her here is really special". I told her I wish it could be a draw and if it was the other way around she'd do the same. And her mother, Sybil Smith, was Boston University's first All-American in women's swimming. Her late father, John Stephens, was an National Football League running back in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Stephens admitted to feel nervous the night before the match, saying she was searching for things to do.

Her first singles title was in 2015 in Washington.

And before the Williams sisters there was Ashe, the victor of three Grand Slam titles.

She was ranked just No. 956 in the world when August began, but after a successful month and the Grand Slam victory, she will elevate to No. 17.

"Bad for her? She was in the finals, too", Stephens told her post-match media conference. She's one of three players who have never held the No. 1 ranking who have beaten both Williams sisters in grand slam events.

Keys acknowledged afterward it was all a bit much for her, and it showed: She wound up with 30 unforced errors. "I was walking on a peg leg, so that whole 15 weeks was super tough", Stephens said. "Nor did I think I was going to be anywhere near the top 100".

Sloane Stephens makes history as the lowest ranked player not named Venus or Serena Williams to take home the Grand Slam trophy.

The only prior unseeded US Open womens champion was Kim Clijsters, who came back from retirement to take the 2009 title.

The world No. 83 took charge of the match from the beginning to grab the opener with relative ease, capitalizing on a disappointing number of unforced errors and shaky performance from Keys.

In addition to Stephens, Keys also was making a comeback from injury.

"This year, Keys could try to explain what's gone right".

Stephens only returned to the tour at Wimbledon after missing 11 months having undergone left foot surgery. "But I do know I'm a US Open champion". It's the 12th time that has happened in the Open Era.

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