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Sloane Stephens, Serena Williams no longer BFFs, maybe never were

May 07, 2013|By Chuck Schilken
  • Serena Williams, left, and Sloane Stephens stand side by side in a U.S. Fed Cup team photo in April.
Serena Williams, left, and Sloane Stephens stand side by side in a U.S. Fed… (Richard Graulich / Associated…)

Sloane Stephens called Serena Williams "one of my really good friends" and "the greatest person ever" during an ESPN interview back in January.

But that was before the 20-year-old Stephens upset the woman who was largely regarded as her mentor in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open later that month.

"She's not said one word to me, not spoken to me, not said hi, not looked my way, not been in the same room with me since I played her in Australia," Stephens told ESPN The Magazine in March in an interview that appears in its May 13 issue. "And that should tell everyone something, how she went from saying all these nice things about me to unfollowing me on Twitter."

It should be noted that the interview was conducted in March and that Sloane and Williams were U.S. Fed Cup teammates in April. The article does not say how interactions between the two went at that time.

The article does state that Stephens and Williams never really were as close as we were led to believe, saying that their relationship mainly consisted of warming up together before events and taking part in small talk in the locker room.

Stephens now seems to back that up, telling a story of being "devastated" when snubbed by Serena and sister Venus Williams when she was a young autograph seeker -- "I didn't like them anymore," she said -- and that she really doesn't consider Williams as much of a mentor.

"For the first 16 years of my life, she said one word to me and was never involved in my tennis whatsoever," Stephens said. "I really don't think it's that big of a deal that she's not involved now. If you mentor someone, that means you speak to them, that means you help them, that means you know about their life, that means you care about them. Are any of those things true at this moment? No, so therefore ... "

Therefore, Stephens no longer considers Williams "the greatest person ever" -- if she ever really did in the first place.

"People should know. They think she's so friendly and she's so this and she's so that -- no, that's not reality!" she said of Williams. "You don't unfollow someone on Twitter, delete them off of BlackBerry Messenger. I mean, what for? Why?"

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