Sloane Stephens' U.S. Open Title Showcases Bright Future Of American Women's Tennis
Sloane Stephens on Saturday defeated Madison Keys in straight sets to win the U.S. Open, capping a "remarkably rapid rise after sitting out 11 months because of foot surgery," according to Howard Fendrich of the AP. Stephens is "only the second unseeded woman to win the tournament in the Open era," which began in '68 (AP, 9/9). In N.Y., Christopher Clarey wrote, "Even tennis, a sport where comebacks are the coin of the realm, has rarely seen a revival quite like this" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/10). USA TODAY's Sandra Harwitt wrote Stephens has become the "new media darling of tennis." Stephens after her win was "smiling and witty" (USATODAY.com, 9/9). TENNIS.com's Steve Tignor wrote entertaining the press is one area where Stephens has "traditionally lived up to her potential, and she didn't disappoint this time." In a matter of a few hours, she had "proven herself to be a tennis player of the highest caliber, the best friend a woman could ask for and a born comedienne" (TENNIS.com, 9/9). In Sacramento, Michael McGough noted praise for Stephens was "abundant on social media." Many "focused their attention not just on the win, but on a few humorous and good-natured moments in the aftermath" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 9/10). In L.A., Helene Elliott wrote Stephens' win came at the right time for the "suddenly bright future of American women's tennis" (L.A. TIMES, 9/10). TLA Worldwide, which reps Stephens, sent an email congratulating her on the win and listed her marketing reps (THE DAILY).
TOUCHING MOMENT: ESPNW.com's Alyssa Roenigk wrote the "20-second, tear-filled embrace" between Stephens and Keys that followed the final point will be "burned into the memory of everyone lucky enough to witness it." It was "everything about the postmatch ceremony that captivated the capacity crowd in Arthur Ashe Stadium and upstaged all that had taken place the previous two weeks" (ESPNW.com, 9/9). USA TODAY's Christine Brennan writes under the header, "U.S. Open Women's Final Brings Out Best In Friends" (USA TODAY, 9/11). ESPN.com's Peter Bodo wondered could there have been a "better advertisement for the renaissance of U.S. tennis than the extraordinary tableau" Stephens and Keys "produced in the minutes following the match" (ESPN.com, 9/9).
OLD & NEW: In N.Y., Larry Brooks notes this is the first time since '10 that Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer "combined to win all four majors." In tennis, where the Big Four have won 46 of the last 51 Grand Slam events, "everything new is old and everything old is new." The next generation is coming, because it always does, but it is "still waiting in line behind the Greatest Generation." And it may wait "for a while, what with Nadal's resurgence following an injury-wrecked" '16 and 36-year-old Federer's renaissance (N.Y. POST, 9/11). ESPN.com's Bodo wrote the U.S. currently has a "stockpile of potential impact players of either gender testing the waters of the pro tour." They have "lacked only time -- and the validation." USTA GM of Player Development Martin Blackman said, "Our pipeline is loaded." Bodo noted while U.S. Open semifinalist CoCo Vandeweghe, Stephens and Keys are the future for American women's tennis, the "situation on the men's side is different." There is "no comparable trio to the three U.S. women who made the semis this week" (ESPN.com, 9/9).