Congratulations, U.S. Open Champion Sloane Stephens! You’re #BlackExcellence!
Sloane Stephens makes history as the lowest ranked player not named Venus or Serena Williams to take home the Grand Slam trophy.
For the first time in a long time in U.S. Open History, the Grand Slam trophy was awarded to an athlete not named Venus or Serena Williams. Yes, you read that correctly, this year’s champion is 24-year-old Sloane Stephens. Currently ranked 83rd in the world, Stephens beat Venus Williams in the semifinals and close friend Madison Keys in the finals, and became only the second unseeded woman to win the tournament in the Open era, which began in 1968.
“I should just retire now,” Stephens joked as she accepted her winnings. “I told Maddie [Keys] I’m never going to be able to top this. I mean, talk about a comeback.” Stephens won over Keys 6-3, 6-0 to win the U.S. Open on Saturday, capping a remarkable journey that began with her sitting out 11 months because of foot surgery to taking home the $3.7 million prize. Since that happened, Sloane has gone 15-2, and her ranking jumped from outside the top 900 to what will be around No. 20 as of Monday (9/11).
“I mean, things just have to come together,” Stephens said, “and the last six weeks, five weeks, they really have.” Another historical entry is that this was only the second time in the Open era that two women were making their Grand Slam final debuts against each other. Stephens, who claimed the last eight games and made only six unforced errors, easily dominated her opponent, Keys, who had 30 unforced errors. The two have known each other for years and consideration one another close friends. When the match ended, they embraced for a long hug, and while waiting for the trophy ceremony to begin, Stephens sat next to Keys to have a chat side-by-side.
“Sloane is truly one of my favorite people and to get to play her was really special,” Madison Keys said. “Obviously, I didn’t play my best tennis today and was disappointed, but Sloane, being the great friend that she is, was very supportive. And if there’s someone I have to lose to today, I’m glad it’s her.”
Congratulations, Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys for making history, putting on a great match and embodying #BlackExcellence.