Thursday, September 14, 2017

Sloane Stephens Covers Sports Illustrated

Being on the cover of an iconic magazine isn't quite as prestigious as it used to be. But it's still really remarkable to see that Sports Illustrated opted to to put Sloane Stephens out front this week -- Steffi Graf had to win the goddamn Grand Slam before she got noticed! -- a particularly noteworthy honor considering the venerable magazine has only featured tennis on less than 3 percent of its covers since the first issue came out on Aug. 16, 1954. (That means there were dozens and dozens of years no tennis was on the cover at all.) And it's never featured Andy Roddick (2003 U.S. Open winner/supposed heir apparent to Pete Sampras), Michael Change (an American who won the French Open at 17), Jim Courier (an American who won four majors), Novak Djokovic (12 majors), Andy Murray (first Brit to win Wimbledon since 1936), Martina Hingis (teenager who won three majors in one year), Justine Henin (seven-time major winner and Serena Williams's one-time nemesis) or even American Lindsay Davenport (three majors) on the cover -- and barely gave Roger Federer, Chris Evert and Venus Williams the time of the day. (Federer didn't get a cover until he completed a career Grand Slam in 2009. And 16-time major winner Rafael Nadal was only on the cover once in an action shot versus Federer in 2008.) Hell, three of Serena's five covers have all come in this current decade, hinting that they are finally acknowledging a huge oversight.

Sloane's an American, of course. But it probably doesn't hurt that her life story is every bit as interesting as her run to the U.S. Open title!

S.L. Price writes:
Her parents divorced when she was an infant; Sloane didn’t meet her father, former Patriots running back John Stephens, until she was 13. [He has nine other children by seven other women.] But they then spoke often by phone and grew close; she was 16 and preparing to play in the U.S. Open junior tournament when she got the news that he had been killed in a car accident. Hungry for information, Sloane hit the Internet and discovered that her father had pleaded guilty to rape in 1994—and was facing another sexual assault charge when, at 43, he lost control of his truck and hit a tree near Shreveport, La. She attended his funeral and flew back the next day.  
After winning her second-round match in three sets, she lost and went home. “And I didn’t think I would ever be able to regroup here, at this place, because it was just filled with so many emotions—and not good ones,” Sloane said. “If someone told me when my dad died that I would end up winning the U.S. Open years later, I would’ve been, like, You’re crazy. It is crazy. But I’ve had so many great moments here, and so many sad moments here, that winning, here, makes it even more special.”
Read more HERE.

For my annotated look at all 90 Sports Illustrated covers, dating back to Aug. 16, 1954, click HERE.

1 comment:

jaragon said...

Borg had impressive legs - looks very hot in those shorts- even though my personal tennis crush is Sampras