After winning her first Grand Slam title, Sloane Stephens gave her coach, Kamau Murray, and mother, Sybil Smith, well-deserved hugs. Unseeded in the tournament, Stephens entered August ranked 934th in the world, but the 24-year-old, who is now ranked 17th, is a U.S. Open champion. She defeated fellow American Madison Keys on Saturday evening, 6-3, 6-0.
— Andrew Jerell Jones (@sluggahjells) September 9, 2017
Though Stephens grew up playing tennis in Boca Raton, Fla., her parents have New England roots. Her mom attended Boston University and was the first-ever African American swimmer to earn an NCAA Div. I All-America honors.
Still lauded as one of the best swimmers in B.U.’s history, Smith is a member of the school’s athletic hall of fame for her performance in the pool. Among her impressive feats are seven school records and an undefeated record in dual-meet competition.
— BU Athletics (@BUAthletics) September 8, 2017
Stephens’ late father, John Stephens, was selected by the New England Patriots in the first round of the 1988 NFL Draft. The running back played five seasons with the Pats and won the league’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award, thanks to his strong professional debut. In that premiere season, which would end up being the best of his career, he rushed for 1,168 yards and four touchdowns.
— Greg Aiello (@gregaiello) September 8, 2017
Stephens did not have a close relationship with her father as her parents divorced early on in her life. In 2009, John Stephens died in a car accident.