18-year-old American Sloane Stephens stormed through the qualies to earn her first French Open main draw appearance. How cool is that?
It's really damn cool if you ask me. Stephens, an 18-year-old who has embraced the clay game ever since she rolled to the French Open junior semifinals as a qualifier in 2009 (see vid above), is fresh off a challenger title in Italy in which she upset the tournaments top two seeds in the last two rounds.
She's currently ranked 138 in the world, but a few wins in Roland Garros would more than likely enable her to move to the cusp of the top 100.
But she's only 18, so we can leave off on crunching the numbers for a while and just say that Stephens has done a fantastic job of winning three matches in straight-sets this week. Sure, qualifying for a Slam does not make a career, but it's a nice step for Stephens, and it proves that she doesn't only talk the talk about liking the clay, she also walks the walk.
Stephens, surprisingly philosophical and soulful for her age, has cultivated a cult following on twitter by sharing her deep thoughts on a regular basis. In a space that is crowded with the inane, nonsensical and attention-grabbing thoughts of the world, "Sloaney" comes off as a precocious yet down-to-earth sage. She is witty, deep, spiritual and humorous all at once, and she spits out quotes and self-help aphorisms on a very regular basis.
On May 18th she tweeted "Believe in God, because there are some questions even Google can't answer."
Does that sound like your typical 18-year-old? I think not.
Or this from April 23rd: "You pull out a pack of gum and suddenly everyone is your friend."
Stephens might be surprised by how many friends she'll have if she can manage a few wins in Paris this week, but somehow I think she'd have a piece of gum for everybody who congratulated her.
She'll play Elena Baltacha of Great Britain in the first round.