Earlier this year when Serena Williams faced off against Sloane Stephens in the Australian Open, a lot was made about their alleged “friendship” and the mentor role Williams had taken on with Sloane. In a recent interview in ESPN the magazine, Sloane corrects that myth and actually comes for Serena’s neck.
“She’s not said one word to me, not spoken to me, not said hi, not looked my way, not been in the same room with me since I played her in Australia,” Stephens says emphatically. “And that should tell everyone something, how she went from saying all these nice things about me to unfollowing me on Twitter.”
Her mom tries to slow her down, but Sloane is insistent. “Like, seriously! People should know. They think she’s so friendly and she’s so this and she’s so that — no, that’s not reality! You don’t unfollow someone on Twitter, delete them off of BlackBerry Messenger. I mean, what for? Why?
She also believes fans wanted to make the connection between the two of them simply because they’re two black women in tennis. That what they really want is another Serena.
“For the first 16 years of my life, she said one word to me and was never involved in my tennis whatsoever,” says Stephens. “I really don’t think it’s that big of a deal that she’s not involved now. If you mentor someone, that means you speak to them, that means you help them, that means you know about their life, that means you care about them. Are any of those things true at this moment? No, so therefore…”
SI: “They want the next great American player.”
Stephens says: “They want another Serena.”
She also didn’t appreciate what she felt was a subtweet from Serena two days after their quarterfinal match in the Australian Open.
“I was like, ‘You really don’t think I know that that’s about me?’” Stephens tells the magazine.
And lastly, Sloane takes a moment to throw her own shot at Serena saying that the notion that Williams was her favorite tennis player is untrue, She really was a Kim Clijsters fan… Ok girl. My only issue with Sloane is that she was perfectly willing to ride out this narrative as long as it benefited her. If she really wasn’t feeling it from the outset, she should’ve clarified. She didn’t need Serena to build her career but she didn’t turn away the attention either. I understand Serena may not have been the nicest to her if what she’s saying is true but she ran with it so she shares some of the blame.