The entire world was buzzing after Sloane Stephens took home her first Grand Slam title at the US Open, a win that came after a number of struggles.
Covering the Sept. 18, 2017 issue of Sports Illustrated, an image of Stephens holding her US Open trophy, the cover story on Stephens dives into the star’s rocky rise to the top.
Stephens opens up to the magazine about the loss of her father, John Stephens, a former NFL player who passed away in 2009 in a car accident, and talks about bouncing back after foot surgery.
The tennis star’s epic win marked her first Grand Slam title and placed her in a pantheon of Black women who have proved that they are more than capable of rising to the top in a sport that has, for quite sometime, been resistant to diversity. Even Serena Williams, who Stephens publicly slammed in a 2013 ESPN interview, congratulated the star.
“If someone told me when my dad died that I would end up winning the U.S. Open years later, I would’ve been, like, You’re crazy. It is crazy,” Stephens told the publication. “But I’ve had so many great moments here, and so many sad moments here, that winning, here, makes it even more special.”