Sloane Stephens: The next big thing in tennis

Thursday, January 24, 2013
Sloane Stephens: The next big thing in tennis
Sloane Stephens beat her childhood hero Serena Williams to make the Australian semi-final

Sloane Stephens has always dreamed of coming face to face with her idol Serena Williams, but she never thought she'd knock her out of a grand slam.

Yesterday's Australian Open quarter-final battle saw the almost 19-year-old American take down Williams, the five-time Australian Open champion.

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She took down Serena two sets to one, causing the fiery-tempered tennis star to wreck her racquet and declare the last two weeks the "absolute worst", leaving everyone asking — who is the teenager who toppled a tennis giant?

Sloane Stephens grew up in a family of athletes in a humble home in Florida where she had posters of Serena Williams plastered on her wall.

Her mother, a swimmer and sports psychologist is her greatest supporter and closest friend, and she lost her football player father in a car accident in 2009.

With approximately $660,500 in career prize money already under her belt, Stephens is ranked at number 25 in the world.

Breaking into the Grand Slam semi-final guarantees the 19-year-old $500,000 in cash, but as a typical Gen-Y textaholic, she's worried a fair chunk of that might have to go to her phone bill.

"I thought it was free to receive text messages (while overseas) but someone told me otherwise … my mum is going to be like, 'Oh, my God, your phone bill'," she said after the match.

It's a genuine concern for the rising star who had sent 213 messages of congratulations on her phone by the time she walked off the court after her stunning win.

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"Mum's going to be like, the money you were going to buy yourself something nice with, you're going to pay your phone bill."

Sloane now goes into the semi-finals where she will take on world number one Victoria Azarenka and, win or lose, we don't think it will be the last we see of her.

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