Tag Archives: Sloane Stephens

WIMBLEDON: Finally, Reason for Hope for Future of U.S. Tennis (Women Only)

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REPORTING FROM THE ALL ENGLAND CLUB IN WIMBLEDON

LONDON

By now, two days into a tennis major, the US media usually have rushed in to talk about all the new hope in American tennis. Why the rush? Because the future is now! No, really it’s because in two more days, everyone but Serena Williams usually would be out.

So it’s now or never. And I’m usually ridiculing the rush. But this time, for the first time in years, the hope looks realistic. On the women’s side, that is. With men? Not so much.

On Tuesday, 18-year old American Madison Keys beat young Brit hope Heather Watson, 6-3, 7-5, in the first round. It was Keys’ first match ever at Wimbledon, even though she already is ranked No. 52. And that match probably didn’t draw much attention.

But while everyone is watching Williams and Maria Sharapova (and maybe Victoria Azarenka), a new and very real battle is taking place in the next tier down.

It’s an incredible opportunity for all young players from any country, really. But the news is that the Americans suddenly are in position to consider the opportunity theirs, too.

The women’s tour has a massive quality gap after the top three players.

Please read the rest of the column here at FoxSports.com

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AUSTRALIAN OPEN: Victoria Azarenka Uses Cheap Trick on Sloane Stephens, Claims (Nervous) Choking as Medical Issue

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Technically, choking is only an injury, or medical emergency, if something is stuck in your throat. So the No. 1 women’s tennis player, Victoria Azarenka, on the verge of choking away her match Thursday, resorted to a cheap trick to beat American teen Sloane Stephens in the Australian Open semifinals.

Azarenka faked an injury, and walked off the court for 10 minutes for treatment. She says the injury was real. I’m calling B.S. She simply took a 10-minute vacation in air conditioning, leaving Stephens alone on the court in a crucial moment … just … sitting there … waiting.

The “injury’’ was supposedly for Azarenka’s chest and back, though she didn’t seem to remember that 15 minutes later, when asked after her 6-1, 6-4 victory why she had left the court.

“I couldn’t breathe, you know,’’ Azarenka told the on-court reporter. “That game, you know, I just had chest pain, like getting a heart attack or something out there. I just needed to make sure it’s OK cause I really couldn’t breathe.’’

What a terrible look for women’s tennis in a rare big match not involving a Williams sister.

Please read the rest of the column at FoxSports.com


U.S. OPEN: From Hardest Moment, Sloane Stephens Rises on Biggest Stage

From my column at FoxSports.com

Sloane Stephens

Sloane Stephens tweets about her nails, about arguing with her brother, about debating with her mom over what kind of car to buy. Typical 18-year-old things. But Stephens, the American tennis hopeful, also loves to deliver short-order philosophies in 140 characters or less:

“Count your blessings, not your worries.’’

And: “Things fall apart so that other things can fall together.’’

Her little daily affirmations would make a Hallmark card writer proud.

But on Thursday night, after her breakthrough victory in the US Open — 6-1, 7-6 (7-4), over 23rd seed Shahar Peer — her words came straight from her heart:

“2 years without you here with me, I miss you dad! I know your always with me! You would have been so proud of me today! I love you.’’

The US Open is always going to be a conflicted place for Stephens.

She is the daughter of former New England Patriots running back John Stephens, who died in a car accident two years ago this week, days before his daughter would play at her first Open.

“I still think about that,’’ she said recently. “Like I say, I played on Court 11 when I came back from the funeral, and it was crazy. I don’t even know how I played.

“I woke up. I came back late at night. I woke up the next morning and played the second or third match on. It was crazy. Like the emotions and everything were crazy.’’

The story is deeper.
Please read the rest of the column here