5 years ago in Roland Garros…
There lived a tennis rookie called Sloane Stephens.
She wore a weird hairband and oversized jacket
And had a lot in common with the William sisters.
She was black American, Really dark in color and knew how to play tennis.
Better still, she was in her fourth round of 2012 Roland Garros and the William sisters had crashed out of the game.
A story quickly circulated around the media
She was Sloane Stephens a mentee of Serena Williams
She Looked up to the William sisters and had Serena’s picture in her bedroom. Stephen confirmed Serena was her Idol . Serena said a few nice things about her to the press. The story was sold.
When your mentor is still in the game:
Sloane Stephens came into 2013 with her game on fleek and her body on form.
At Brisbane international tennis match she chased balls, match point for match point until she got to the quarter-finals and met her Mentor . It was a tough game. She was not giving up to Serena without a fight.
Serena fought back in typical Serena fashion: screams, fists up & victory shouts
Sloane Stephens got really irritated. She was overheard on the microphone telling her coach that Serena’s outburst were disrespectful.
Serena won the match anyways. But Sloane Stephens earned some respect for a battle well fought
During the Post-match interview gracious and kind Serena came back.
She called Sloane a great player, and she could be the best in the world someday.
I am not another Serena I am the new Sloane Stephens,
Sloane Stephens roared into another continental tennis tournament Morrilla Hoobart international this time she made the Semi Finals
She then continued into the Australian open as world’s number 29th. Waiting for her was Serena Williams.This time around she defeated Serena
In her post match interview, when asked how it felt to beat the player whose poster she had on her bedroom wall growing up. She replied “I think I’ll put up a poster of myself now.
Serena responded to the loss with a racket smash. She further blamed her loss on injury she sustained during the match.
Even though she was clearly injured. It did not take away from what Sloane Stephens had done.
All hail the new queen on the court
Sloane Stephen became an instant sensation. The media anointed her the future queen of American Tennis. And why not? She was black, she was American, Serena at 31 her career should be almost over. She had to be the new Serena.
But it did not quite happen as expected.
Sloane stephens literally crumbled under the weight of that much expectation. She went on to lose her next few matches, a lot of them. It would seem like she was a one hit wonder and after beating Serena all the fire was gone.
The expectations to be the the next Serena was affecting her game.
She kept playing and stayed relevant, but she never made it to a finals game.
She was so irritated by the constant comparison that she let out a rant during an ESPN interview
Stephen Sloane; the angry rant:
During an ESPN interview, she did say that Serena was not her idol. The 20-year-old rising star said she’s been snubbed, unfollowed and ignored by Williams, and that things only got worse after defeating the veteran.
“She’s not said one word to me, not spoken to me, not said hi, not been in the same room with me since I played her in Australia,” Stephens told ESPN. “And that should tell everyone something, how she went from saying all these nice things about me to unfollowing me on Twitter.”
She also mentioned an episode that happened when she was 12. something about the William sisters not signing her autograph.
Serena Williams, still the reigning queen
Serena defeated her in the next three matches they played years down the line
She also went on to become world’s number 1
Stephane Sloane had a foot injury and dropped out of top 100.
Maybe winning Serena was some kind of Archilles heel.
She started from the bottom now she is back (in rap music).
She came into the US open as an unranked player. I mean world’s number 83, she definitely did not make the buddings stars list.
Now she is carrying the trophy for various media interviews. She is the star of the moment
Just fresh out of a foot injury, it’s nothing short of a miracle.
Guess she found her Mojo.
At least until Mama comes back from maternity leave.