Tennis Identity

Sloane Stephens. On growing up tennis, style and Korean BBQ.

Sloane StephensSloane Stephens often comes up when discussing young US tennis talents. Keep an eye out for her at the inaugural Citi Open at the Tennis Center in College Park Maryland but get to know her first. At 18, she's ranked 125 in the world (WTA):

How old were you when you started tennis? I was 9 years old when I started taking tennis lessons.

When did you click as "committed" to the game? I started playing USTA tournaments when I was 10 but everything really didn't "click" for me until I was 12.

As you spent years focused on growing your game did you feel torn about missing some of the regular teen stuff friends were doing? This was definitely a tough issue for me. I was home-schooled from 6th grade on so I always knew that I was missing school activities and gatherings with my friends. 

What would you say to teen players who are struggling with this? In the long run, the commitment to tennis pays off. I love tennis, so personally, I didn't mind the sacrifice. For teen players who are struggling, I would encourage them to follow their dreams and not let anything stand in the way. 

Favorite surface? Red Clay!

Tennis racquet? Head Prestige.

Tennis apparel sponsor? Under Armour. The best!

Do you get to pick what you wear on court? I pretty much have a choice of a number of different outfits that I travel with. Under Armour makes sure that I have a variety of outfits and colors.

Do you like a certain style? I like to be comfortable…and sporty!

Any pre-match rituals? I listen to my pre-match playlist.

Favorite band/singer? Beyonce.

I saw you featured in Teen Vogue. Did you have fun doing that piece? I really loved doing the shoot for Teen Vogue. It was a lot of fun and it was really cool to learn about all that happens in a photo shoot. The preparation was unreal! Video here.

Favorite foods? My Grandma's macaroni and cheese and Korean BBQ

Favorite color(s)? Orange and pink.

Most inspirational tennis player? Kim Clijsters.

Favorite thing to do with your free time (not tennis)? Spend time with my Grandparents, my family and friends. 

Goals for 2011? Strengthen my serve. Get into the WTA top 100. 

Follow Stephens at home and on-tour via Twitter @sloanetweets. The Citi Open runs July 23-31, 2011. You can follow it on Twitter @CitiOpen