How did Sloane Stephens’ relationship with Serena Williams turn bitter?

Many rivalries on the WTA Tour have seen the court take center stage. The rivalry has lasted for years and continues to grow off the court. Sloane Stephens and Serena Williams’ friendship turned rivalry is one of those. While Stephens once idolized Serena, things changed when they played each other on court.

Serena and Stephens started well. The former world No. 1 also praised Stephens for being a good competitor on tour. Later, the 30-year-old admitted that things were not easy with Serena. Stephens said, “She didn’t say a word to me, didn’t speak to me, didn’t say hi, didn’t look my way.” He said Serena unfollowed him on X and deleted him from Blackberry Messenger.

During a recent interview, Stephens talked about the best days of his tour. She did not mention her Australian Open victory over Serena, her only victory in seven meetings against the legend. Serena posted a cryptic tweet saying, “I Made You” Following her loss to Stephens in Melbourne. The two players have not spoken about each other recently.

Sloane Stephens is eyeing a Grand Slam breakthrough this season

Stephens made her Grand Slam debut at the 2011 French Open. The American won her only Grand Slam at the 2017 US Open. Since then, her best performance at a Grand Slam has been a runner-up finish at the French Open in 2018. But Stephens has not advanced past the fourth round in the last five majors. She lost in the third round at the 2024 Australian Open.

The former world No. 3 last reached a Grand Slam quarterfinal at the 2022 French Open. Clay has been a court major where she has had success. Stephens has won 35 of 47 matches at Roland Garros and has played in 12 editions so far. Her three-match winning streak on tour now spans nine months.

The world No.39 is currently the fifth-highest ranked American on the WTA Tour in singles. Stephens will be hoping to do well on the big stage this year. He can prove to critics that he is not a “one slam wonder”. Stephens lost in the opening round of the ongoing Qatar Open and must now look to stay in form for the Golden Swing that begins next month.

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