This year, Sloane Stephens has advanced to the second week of the Australian Open, the French Open, and now Wimbledon. The American hopeful, seeded 17, advanced to Wimbledon’s fourth round for the first time Saturday with a 7-6 (3), 0-6, 6-4 victory over 196th-ranked qualifier Petra Cetkovska from the Czech Republic.
Remember the Australian Open in January? Stephens landed her first Grand Slam semifinal berth, upsetting no. 3 seed Serena Williams in the quarterfinals 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 before losing to no. 1 seed Victoria Azarenka 1-6, 4-6.
At the recent French Open, Stephens made it to the fourth round before falling to no. 2 seed Maria Sharapova 4-6, 3-6.
Next Wimbledon match on Monday morning: 19-year-old Monica Puig of Puerto Rico. Both are very familiar with each other from when they both trained as pre-teens with coach Nick Saviano in South Florida. Interesting enough, this will be their first match against each other as pros.
Sloane is expected to win that round and, with a little luck, may well be on her way to the final of the 2013 Wimbledon. Guess who’d probably be waiting for her at the final? No. 1 seed Serena Williams.
The slide show shows images I took of Sloane Stephens during various events in the past 2 years.
Sloane Stephens at a commercial shoot
The location: Toluca Lake Tennis and Fitness Club. Sloane Stephens was shooting a TV commercial for Under Armour, the sports apparel brand she endorses.
Carl Bryan and Sloane Stephens
Carl Bryan is a tennis pro at the Toluca Lake Tennis and Fitness Club. He is also the cousin of the most successful men’s doubles team of all times, the Bryan Brothers. At the film shoot Carl was Sloane’s hitting partner.
Sloane at Toluca Lake
Sloane taking direction from the crew of the Under Armour film shoot. Her Under Armour outfit contrasted nicely with the back drop of Toluca Lake’s court 3.
Sloane’s mother Sybil
In 1988, as a swimmer at Boston University, Sloane’s mom Sybil became the first African-American female to be named First Team All-American in Division I history.
Sloane Stephens getting ready to serve
The film shoot at the Toluca Lake Tennis and Fitness Club demanded Sloane to serve and hit tennis balls. Here she concentrates, getting ready to serve.
Sloane waiting for direction
A film shoot with such a big production (there were about 60-70 people involved at the Toluca Lake Tennis and Fitness Club) means there is little action and a lot of standing around and waiting.
Sloane and the Director
The Director and his main staff are discussing the setting up of the next scene with Sloane Stephens. Carl Bryan will be hitting with Sloane.
Carl Bryan waiting for Sloane’s serve
Tennis Pro Carl Bryan waiting for Sloane to serve. Carl has lots of experience hitting with world class players. He used to accompany his cousins Mike and Bob Bryan to Grand Slams as their hitting partner.
Light, camera, action
This shot entails a camera that’s rushing in during Sloane’s serve. Lots of different people are involved in various scenes. The lady in the coat is the makeup artist.
The camera is closing in. In the camera man’s head phones come directions from the Director. Sloane looks slightly bored or annoyed, who knows?
The fog machine
Some of the scenes look much cooler because of special effects created by a fog machine. The fog lets Sloane Stephens appear mystic, enhancing those scenes.
With some fog still hanging in the air, and mist sprayed onto her skin, Sloane checks her outfit and makes last second corrections. Everything has to fit just right.
Last series of scenes
Sloane is used to waiting around by now. While the film crew is setting up the last set of scenes, still photographers take images of Sloane Stephens.
Sloane Stephens and Pam Shriver
The Bryan Brothers threw a charity event and everyone came. Sloane Stephens is the new generation of American tennis players, standing next to a representative of the past generation, Pam Shriver.
The Stephens Family
Sloane Stephens and family. Stephens’ younger brother, Shawn Stephens, plays baseball and football at Notre Dame High School in Los Angeles. Mom Sybil shows us where Sloane has gotten her beautiful smile from. (Dad John Stephens was killed in a car accident on September 1, 2009)
Sloane at La Costa
Sloane Stephens at a press conference after winning her 1st round match at the 2011 Mercury Insurance Open at La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad (San Diego North County).
A very relaxed Sloane Stephens loves to talk about her life and her career during press conferences. Her bubbly nature and charming smile wins her many friends in the media.
Sloane at Press Conference
At the 2011 Mercury Insurance Open Sloane beat Zhang Shuai in the first round, Julia Goerges in the second round. She got through the first round when her opponent, Tamira Paszek, retired and eventually fell to Andrea Petkovic in the quarterfinals.