Since her big win over Serena Williams in the Australian Open quarterfinals in January, American Sloane Stephens has hit the skids losing now four of her last five matches including a defeat last night to Urszula Radwanska 63, 64 in the second round at Indian Wells.
The 19-year-old Stephens launched into fame and celebrity after beating Serena, and with it her ranking climbed into the teens and the expectations and off court demands have risen. And Stephens is finding transitioning into her new status not easy.
“It’s been fun, but all’s I want to do is play tennis,” Stephens said last night. “I don’t care about all this other stuff. I just want to be on the court, have fun, enjoy myself, play like how I played in Australia, and just do what I was doing before all this happened. I mean, definitely comes with the territory. But definitely just want to get out and have fun and just do what I was doing before. And, I mean, it is what it is. It’s definitely overwhelming. But like I said, I just want to play tennis.”
Stephens says she also has to adjust to a new schedule, no longer playing on the outer courts earlier in the day that have marked the early part of her career.
“I would have definitely been used to playing first on at 11:00 on Court Timbuktu back there,” she said. “But, I mean, definitely, it’s tough like being, you know, night match on a Saturday. All your friends want to come and this and that. It’s definitely tough, but I guess that’s just what happens when you’re slightly good.”
Sloane will now head to Miami, again as a seed and again with the spotlight on her.
“I mean, three losses in a row,” she added. “I’m going to be No. 18 in the world now. Really doesn’t matter. There’s always next week. I have 15 or however many more tournaments. I mean, it’s tough now, but just move on. Maybe play doubles next week.”
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