American Sloane Stephens, whose disappointing 2015 campaign saw her end the year at No. 30 on the WTA Rankings, has split with coach Nick Saviano.
Stephens seemed a lock for stardom in 2013 after she beat Serena Williams at the Australian Open and climbed to No. 11 in the world, but the only fame she gained was as the long-standing highest-ranked player without a WTA title. This year she ended that run by winning at the WTA event in Washington, ending an 0-6 streak in career WTA semifinals.
“Sloane and I will not be working together on the tour in 2016,” Saviano announced. “Coaching Sloane this past year at the major events and having her achieve outstanding results, in particular, winning her first WTA tour event in Washington, D.C. was extremely rewarding and enjoyable.”
Not so enjoyable was seeing Stephens’ inability to put away big matches, and giant concentration lapses that at times looked like she just wasn’t enjoying professional tennis.
The break follows another coaching stint with Paul Annacone that did not work out for Stephens.
“She has been a joy for me to work with her since she was 11 years old,” Saviano said. “I expect her to have a great year in 2016 and wish her all the best.”
Stephens is the daughter of all-American swimmer Sybil Smith and former NFL player John Stephens. In 2011 she was the youngest player in the Top 20.
“I’ve had a lot of ups and downs,” Stephens said this year after winning the Washington title. “Nothing was rushed. Nothing was given to me. I had to work for everything, and it was just nice that all the hard work and everything that I put into it, now I can say that I have a tournament title.”
The streaky Stephens reached the fourth round at the French Open this year in her best Slam effort, beating Venus Williams and losing to Serena Williams in three sets. She lost in the first round at the Australian Open and US Open.
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