At just 21-years-old, Sloane Stephens is the third highest-ranked American woman behind Serena and Venus Williams. In 2013, Stephens became an international headliner when she defeated Serena Williams to reach the Australian Open semifinals for her best Grand Slam appearance to date. Stephens arrives at this year’s US Open with new coach Thomas Hogstedt and looks to improve upon her 2013 fourth-round showing at Flushing Meadows. She is already considered an important part of the U.S. Fed Cup team and, as a youngster, was on the 2008 winning Junior Fed Cup squad.
USOpen.org: What are your feelings about New York?
Sloane Stephens: I like New York. It’s very fast paced, and all my favorite restaurants are there. It’s always been good to me, so I always look forward to getting back there.
USOpen.org: Do you remember the first time you went to New York and what you thought about the city?
Sloane Stephens: Yeah, my mom took me to the US Open when I was 11. That was my first US Open experience, and who would’ve ever thought that I’d be playing the US Open when I was just a little peanut back then?
USOpen.org: Who do you remember watching when you made that first US Open trip?
Sloane Stephens: We watched Kim Clijsters play, and I’ve loved her since then. So, it was a great experience, a lot of fun, and I remember I thought it was the greatest thing ever.
USOpen.org: Did you also sightsee in New York at all?
Sloane Stephens: You know, I was 11, and I didn’t really care about any of that stuff. I was still in school. I remember I was doing tests when I was back at the hotel, so it definitely was not a New York experience. It was a US Open experience.
USOpen.org: Since that first trip to New York, have you taken in any of the New York experience, too?
Sloane Stephens: Yeah, I’ve done a lot. I don’t really know my way around New York, but I act like I do. I’ve seen pretty much everything. I’ve gone to all the shows. We stay next to the Empire State Building.
USOpen.org: If you could have one famous New Yorker give you their tour of the city, who would you want that person to be and why?
Sloane Stephens: Donald Trump because he’s the man. He’s a good person to have showing you around.
USOpen.org: You mentioned your favorite restaurants are in New York. Tell us about that.
Sloane Stephens: My favorite restaurant is La Esquina. It’s Mexican food, and it’s the best restaurant. Oh, and Miss Korea, open 24 hours a day. Miss Korea is my No. 1, and La Esquina is my No. 2. It’s a Korean barbecue restaurant. Last year when I played, we got back at like 2 a.m. from my match when I played on Ashe. Miss Korea was open and waiting.
USOpen.org: Which fellow player would you want to buy a hot dog from at a New York City hot dog stand?
Sloane Stephens: Andy Murray because he just seems like a cool guy to serve a hot dog. I don’t know why.
USOpen.org: I think we already know you like to shop. Is that a big activity for you in New York?
Sloane Stephens: Yes, definitely. That’s my one splurge every year in New York. I’ll be broke if I keep going to New York. Well, I try to keep it pretty much just on Fifth Avenue. I just go anywhere -- anywhere I can buy something.
USOpen.org: Have you shopped for anything really special in New York?
Sloane Stephens: Well, my grandma wears Ferragamo shoes, and it’s the only place I can get the shoes for her because they carry AAA sizes. Nobody wears those anymore, but she does.
USOpen.org: You mentioned you enjoy going to Broadway shows. Do you have plans to see anything this year?
Sloane Stephens: I want to see “The Lion King” and the Audra McDonald one. She’s from Fresno (California). It’s called “Lady Day.” It’s about Billie Holiday. I want to see that.
USOpen.org: Have you met any celebrities when you’ve been in New York?
Sloane Stephens: Michelle Obama. I got to meet her during Kids’ Day at the Open. She’s like everything -- everything. Seriously, she’s like the best. I love her.