Sloane Stephens on dogs, the Obamas, and the grind of the WTA Tour

Sloane Stephens on the grounds of the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit Romana Cvitkovic)

Charismatic, witty and supremely intelligent, American Sloane Stephens can not only ‘wow’ a tennis crowd with her on-court prowess, but can talk up a storm on various subjects. This week at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., I had a chance to chat with the bubbly 19-year-old about her most memorable moment, being scared of furry creatures, partying with her friends on Tour, and having dinner with Barack and Michelle Obama — well, sort of. Read on to find out the full scoop from tennis’ next star.

What is your most memorable moment?

Second round, U.S. Open last year, I played Shahar Peer. I didn’t play on Ashe stadium – it was Grandstand and it was packed! It was so much fun. I’d never played on a court like that before. I played Indian Wells, but nothing where there was so many people there and everyone is only cheering for me. That was so cool for me.

If you weren’t a tennis player, what would you want to be?

An ER doctor … I love the blood.

If you could play against any player in history, who would it be and why?

Any player in history? [Long pause]. Martina Navratilova, she’s the coolest player ever.

Have you had a chance to meet her?

Yea, she’s really cool. She’s a beast at doubles! And she was winning slams until she was 50 years old! [Laughs] I really like her.

What are two things that scare you?

Dogs and bugs.


Yea, I’m deathly afraid of dogs.

Cats are ok?

No cats either. I don’t like any animals. Anything that is faster than me is a ‘no.’ [Smiles]

What is your biggest indulgence?

I love Indian food and I love Korean but that’s not an indulgence. Hmm. I love …. peach cobbler … with vanilla ice cream.

If you could have dinner with any three people in history, living or dead, who would they be and why?

I have to say … Barack Obama, I love him. Well, can Barack and Michelle be one?


Ok, so they’re one. And, Rick and Dick Hoyt can maybe be one too. And Eric LeGrand.

If you were hosting a party, what three tennis players would you invite and why?

Oh my goodness, ok. So, I’d invite Serena [Williams] … duh! And Vika (Victoria Azarenka) and [John] Isner.

If you were given a camera crew and unlimited access, what would you want to show the public about women’s pro tennis?

That it’s a grind, every day. That it’s non-stop. That it’s tennis, tennis, tennis. I think people should see the practice and all the sweat and everything that goes into tennis. You have to eat right, and you can’t eat chocolate cake all the time! And they don’t usually see that. They only see the cute person with the perfect hair that goes on the court. I think to see something that happens in preparation for a match, I think, that would be pretty interesting.