American tennis player Sloane Stephens said the ‘US Open champion’ feels so not real and it’s like a dream after she claimed her career’s first Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows here.
The 24-year-old defeated compatriot and close friend Madison Keys 6-3, 6-0 to win the US Open women’s singles title on Saturday, reports Xinhua news agency.
Stephens said: “It’s like so not real. I feel this is a dream. Like am I just going to wake up and it did not happen?”
“I’m a real fighter, I have a lot of grit. I don’t give up,” Stephens said. “I’m not just going to let them take it from me. I’m going to make sure I give everything I have, and I leave everything on the court at all times, no matter what.”
She said she was thrown in frustration after being forced to watch the Australian Open from her couch unable to walk after left foot surgery in January. She still needed a walking boot in June.
“I was super limited, so that whole 15 weeks was super tough,” Stephens said. “I think that was my toughest time. If someone would have told me I’d win the US Open, I’d say it was impossible.”
“So, I think it’s super cool. I think one day I will be able to show that to my kids that I won the US Open. Like, how many people can say that?”
Stephens only returned to the tour at Wimbledon after missing 11 months having undergone the surgery. Her world ranking slid to 957 before semi-final runs in Toronto and Cincinnati events and now she will be jumping to 17th in the world rankings on Monday.
“I obviously knew that I always wanted to be here. I always wanted to win a Grand Slam. I think that’s everyone’s goal, everyone’s dream. Did I know it would be like this after not playing tennis for about 11 months? I did not think it would be now. But I worked hard and it was there and I took the opportunity when it came up,” she said.