USA Women’s Olympic Tennis | Sloane Stephens, 19, French Open Run Comes to an End on Sunday in Paris
Sloane Stephens, the daughter of a former NFL star (John Stephens) and a college All-American swimmer, bowed out gracefully after her loss to Samantha Stosur in the fourth round of the French Open. Despite the loss, the young Stephens heads home with a bright future in Women’s Singles. For the unseeded American teenager someday, maybe sooner than expected, a fourth-round exit at a Grand Slam won’t feel like such a big success. Stosur, 28, the 2011 U.S. Open champion and a 2010 French Open finalist praised Stephens after the match saying she has shown a lot of confidence and forced Stosur to raise her game. “I think she’s got a very bright future ahead of her,” said Stosur. “I think at that point of maybe, 5-3, 5-4, 5-all, that inexperience probably showed through a little bit. And then again, for me to be able to run away with a string of games, I think that’s just, yeah, being young and maybe not handling it as well as you might down the track. … She’s got an excellent forehand and serves pretty big and moves very well. I think, as she matures and gets a little bit older, that’s all going to really come together.”
Stephens’ loss to Stosur also has other implications. She needed to win to keep herself in contention for the U.S. Olympic team. The top-four ranked singles players in the U.S. will be under consideration by the U.S. Tennis Association for the upcoming Olympic Games in London.
Serena Williams, Christina McHale and Venus Williams have secured their spots. It is between Stephens and Varvara Lepchenko for the final spot, with Stephens needing to go farther in the French Open to pass her. But a bit of perspective is needed to evaluate Stephens’ bad news. If somebody had told Stephens before the French Open that she would make the fourth round, and possibly make the U.S. Olympic team, she would have been ecstatic. Although she will not get the opportunity to represent the American Flag this year at the London Olympics 2012. Sloane Stephens, at only nineteen years old, looks like the future of USA women’s Olympic tennis team.
So, Sloane now leaves Roland Garros the same way she arrived, with her big smile. “[The French Open was] so much fun,” Stephens said. “I have had such a good time. And even though every day I have been saying, ‘Man, I can’t wait to get home to eat my grandpa’s curry crab,’ I don’t want to leave. So it’s kind of bittersweet that I’m going home, but I had so much fun.”