Serena Sees Bright Future For Stephens
Published April 02, 2012 05:16
With 13 Grand Slam singles titles and 123 weeks as World No.1, Serena Williams knows a thing or two about making it to the top in tennis. Yet despite her status as the standard bearer of a generation, Williams still has one eye on the emerging talent hoping to one day emulate her.
And one youngster Williams is keeping a particularly watchful eye on is Sloane Stephens. At 19, Stephens is the second youngest player in the Top 100, and her dynamic game on the court and effervescent personality off it has already struck a chord with her fellow American.
"She's a really, really sweet girl." Williams said. "I think she also has a great game and so much potential. You can see that already even though she's still so young."
Williams and Stephens first got to know one another during the USA's World Group II clash with Belarus earlier this year, hitting it off immediately. In fact, Stephens made such an impression that by the end of their week together in Massachusetts her illustrious teammate was even picking her brain.
"Yeah, we'll definitely keep in touch from now on." Williams continued. "She's so funny and cool, and we kind of laugh about silly things. She's a really good girl and I like her. I actually asked her for advice once at the Fed Cup, which was just really ridiculous. She should have been asking me for advice!"
While Stephens' game - based on fearsome groundstrokes, crisp technique and outstanding athleticism - bears striking similarity to a teenage Williams, the 30-year-old claims their on-court personas could not be more different.
"She's very calm and so poised out there," Williams said. "When I was her age, I was a little wild and crazy. It helps out there to be cool and in control and I wish when I was younger I had some of her poise."
This poise in the heat of battle was evident in Miami, when, after coming through qualifying, Stephens twice battled back from a set down during a run to the third round.
The points gained here helped catapult Stephens to a career-best ranking of No.75 on Monday, as she continues to plot a route towards to the top of women's tennis - don't expect her to be blown off course.