Yesterday, 24-year-old Sloane Stephens won the U.S. Open, defeating her idol Venus Williams and one of her best friends, fellow tennis star Madison Keys. As Buzzfeed reports, Sloane is only the fourth black woman to win the U.S. Open in the history of the sport, and one of the four American semifinalists in this year's competition (a feat hasn't happened in 36 years).
Statistical wins aside, Sloane's journey to the top is arguably more impressive than her glimmering first-place trophy; the tennis star suffered a foot injury and was unable to play tennis for 11 months, yet she still managed to jump from number 957 to number 17 in the rankings in the past two months.
Most impressive is Stephens's genuine display of sportsmanship while competing against her friend Keys in the semi-finals and against the well-respected Venus Williams. Madison reportedly struggled in the match, and Sloane hugged her at the net in the middle of their match. "Then, while they waited for the trophy ceremony, Sloane went over to Madison's side of the net to sit with her," adds Buzzfeed.
As if you needed another reason to love and admire America's newest tennis star, Stephens hugged her mom during a post-match interview, adding, "We've been on such a journey together. My mom is incredible." Not only do Stephens's professional achievements in the tennis world speak for themselves, she's also a great role model for other aspiring tennis players and young women in general; a womaneer, if you will.