NBCBLK28: Sloane Stephens: Slaying On and Off The Court

Rob Carr

Sloane Stephens, 22, Coral City, Fla.

Tennis Champ

Sloane Stephens is poised to become the next big tennis superstar. The all-court player, armed with a mean two-handed backhand and an equally as powerful forehand is ranked 24th in the world by the Women’s Tennis Association. And 2016 is already off to an auspicious start as the Florida native won her second WTA title in January at the ASB Classic in Auckland.

Sloane’s personality matches her game. This past January she was happily posting to Instagram about the Auckland win with a picture showing her kissing her trophy and another image captioned with “waving goodbye to the haters like…”

She’s no newbie. Sloane got into tennis early and by age 12 knew she was enroute to being a world champ. She once beat Serena Williams in a match and last year made it to the fourth round at the French Open.

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And now, even with her six-days-a-week training schedule, the rising star – and quintessential Millennial - keeps tabs on her competition and her fans via social media. Since turning pro, she has garnered more than 100,000 Twitter followers and more than 45,000 Instagram followers.

She even famously told Grantland in 2012 that the first thing she does in the morning is check Twitter. And she jokingly – and openly – informed Elle about her birth control choices. She’s no introvert, that’s for sure.

As for her game and upcoming 2016 schedule, lots of statistics and dollar signs could be thrown about. But it’s perhaps better to take a new listen to something Serena Williams said years ago after playing Sloane: "I think she can be the best in the world. The way she played today I definitely think she has potential to be No. 1 and win Grand Slams. It's exciting to see.”

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