SLOANE STEPHENS, twenty-one, can boast of inheriting athletic genes from her parents. Her mother, Sybil, as a swimmer at Boston University in 1988, became the first African-American female to be named First Team All-American in Division I history, and her father, John, was a professional football player. She started playing tennis at the age of nine, at the Sierra Sport and Racquet Club, in Fresno, Ca, where her mother and stepfather introduced her to the sport. Two years later Sloane relocated from Fresno to Boca Raton, Florida, where she began training at the prestigious Evert Tennis Academy.
Sloane had a breakthrough year in 2008, when she finished the Junior doubles as runner-up alongside partner Mallory Burdett. Later at the Grade A Orange Bowl, she made it to the semifinals as a wildcard, before losing in three sets to compatriot Christina McHale
Sloane played her first professional events on the ITF Circuit in late 2007. In spring 2008, she received a wildcard into her first WTA event, the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, but lost in the first round.
Although Sloane has yet to make a WTA Tour singles final, 2013 was her break-out year as a professional. She reached four semi-finals, including one at the 2013 Australian Open, where she defeated Serena Williams en route. She was also a quarterfinalist at the 2013 Wimbledon Championships.
So far, 2014 has been an inconsistent year for Sloane, but she successfully made it through her first round match at the French Open.