Sloane Stephens’ Wings, 2021

“If I’m not winning, I’m every kind of monkey, gorilla, black bitch, nigger, choke-artist, man . . .  The online abuse is constant.” (Sloane Stephens, 2021). I wanted to write about Sloane Stephens’ wings. Those wings on her feet like Mercury’s, the god of speed, messages, travel, boundaries. Laver thought one key to tennis was “happy feet.” Always on your toes, always moving, quick-twitch light. Sloane’s feet sometimes forget to be happy. She broods over missed forehands, close calls, lost points, lost relationships, racism, bullying, fame, platforms, learning, fashion, skincare, rest. A 14 day lockdown at the Australian Open starts the year. Her aunt died from Covid right after Christmas. Her grandma from Covid soon after. Her grandfather from heartbreak within a week. Facetime’s final goodbyes. Zoom funerals. After a loss, “The racist comments overwhelmingly sad.”

Much of the information above comes from Sloane Stephens’ blog entitled Sloane Stephens Off-Court.

This painting of Sloane Stephens is by Scott Kish (bio below.)

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