Serena Williams is typically the name you hear when someone mentions tennis, the U.S. Open, and if we’re being honest, athletes in general. Her momentous wins have named her The G.O.A.T.
So when another Black woman makes her way onto courts alongside Williams., the world can’t help but compare them. That’s certainly been the case with Sloane Stephens, the 2017 U.S. Open champion. While the comparison might be expected, Stephens is forging her own unique path to greatness as a superstar athlete. “All the things that [Serena’s] done, that has nothing to do with me. I am my own person. I’ve done what I’ve done.”
Stephens continues, “I’m proud of my accomplishments. I’m trying to do this, in this lane and it has nothing to do with her. Whatever she does is amazing. She’s done so much in the sport.”
And so has Stephens. After her U.S. Open championship, she ranked number three in the world. She won six WTA singles titles. Even though Stephens’ is a beast, she’s still a Black woman on a tennis court. “Being an African-American woman in this sport, everything is criticized.”
But Stephans’ game is undeniable. It’s why Mercedes has chosen her as an ambassador to empower women and she has her own shoe—an official Jordan collab (93 Retro Jordan 8’s to be exac)—which is Stephens’ favorite shoe. “To be able to turn them into a ‘tennis’ shoe, and have other people play with them and see them…as a little Black girl, I never imagine that I’d have sponsorships with Mercedes, Nike, Jordan and have all these amazing things and it’s just because I’ve worked really hard,” she said.
Check out the video above of our chat with Sloane Stephens at the U.S. Open.