Sloane Stephens Has No Intention To Play Beyond 30, For Now
Despite the trend in players playing later in their career, US Open champion Sloane Stephens is not convinced that she will follow suit.
Crashing out to Daria Kasatkina at Indian Wells on Monday, the 25-year-old has set out an aim of playing on the tour for a further five years. The past 12 months have been a roller coaster for the American. After a lengthy absence due to a foot injury, she stunned the women’s tour by lifting the US Open title as an unseeded player. Since then, she has only managed to win three matches on the tour. Including one earlier this week against Victoria Azarenka at the BNP Paribas Open.
“I’ll be 25 next week and hopefully I can play another five years. And in those five years hopefully I can have another (grand slam title).” She said.
“If all goes well, you know, hopefully in that five years I’ll win some more tournaments and hopefully do some other amazing things on and off the court. So this does not define how my career is going to end up.”
The five-year deadline given by Stephens has caught some off guard. In the current top 100, 20% of WTA players and 40% of ATP players are aged 30 or over. Asked by one journalist if she would like to emulate Federer, who continues to play at the age of 36, she happily responded with ‘definitely not.’
Stephens could be persuaded to rethink her plans by examples set by other players. Serena Williams has begun her return to the tour since giving birth in September. Should the 23-time grand slam champion impress in her return, it could have the power to change the mind of her younger compatriot.
“Serena had a baby, and eventually I want to have a baby as well. So if she comes back and wins a couple more slams, maybe I will think about it.” Explained Stephens. “But I’m kind of just gauging it on how well she does and then we’ll see.”
‘It’s not a crash’
Since winning her maiden grand slam title, the world No.13 has a win-loss record of 3-8 (not counting Fed Cup losses). Nevertheless, Stephens has played down the significance of her results. Insisting that it is by no means a ‘crash’ in her game. Even though her last win against a top 40 player was Madison Keys in New York.
“I wouldn’t say there was a crash, but obviously going to China after you win the US Open is not always going to be the funnest thing.” She said. “So I think now I’m kind of getting back into it, and I’m just looking forward to playing again.”
After Miami comes the clay season, where Shephens is hoping to rediscover some of her form. Last year she was unable to play any tournaments on the surface due to injury.
“I think it will be a good opportunity to get back on the clay. And having not played on clay in a while, I’m looking forward to it. So hopefully I can get some good results there. That would be nice.” The American concluded about her future chances.