Sloane Stephens’ run at the Rogers Cup may be over, but the American is leaving Toronto having sent a simple message: I’m coming back. The American missed a year of action with an injury, coming back at Wimbledon and failing to win a match in until this week in Toronto, where she won four to reach the semifinals. Despite falling to Caroline Wozniacki, the American had nothing but positives to say about her performance.
Despite a the straight-sets loss, Stephens, a four-time titlist on the WTA Tour, admitted that this run reminded her of what she’s capable of. She explained that “Having not played, it obviously gives me a lot of confidence going in for the rest of the season playing. So I'm happy with that. I can't really -- you know, I didn't really have high expectations when I started playing again. So for this to be my third tournament back and playing like this, I mean, I really couldn't ask for anything more. So I'm super happy with that. And hopefully will just be able to keep building and have some more good results.”
Stephens’ expectations of herself for this tournament were low, saying, “I didn't think I would have good results like this and beat good players this soon. Because I thought it would take me a lot longer to work my way into playing top players again. Like here, I didn't have an easy draw at all even from the first round. It was a tough draw all the way through.”
Despite the loss, Stephens was still feeling pretty good about her performance, especially considering that “I know obviously she's playing some good tennis. She's made a whole bunch of finals this year. She's been playing really well. And to be able to compete with someone like that who's been playing, and I haven't played in however many months, it's been a really long time. So for me that's a good stepping stone. I didn't win, but I think this whole week was a very big personal victory. So I didn't win the tournament, but in my eyes I did.”
But there was one message that has repeated throughout the week in Toronto and emphasised one more time after her loss to Wozniacki: “I'm just happy to be on the court again.”
So what’s next for Stephen’s? It’s not even on the American’s mind at the moment. She bluntly stated, “I don't know. So many things. I have to talk to my coach. Honestly, I haven't even thought about it. I haven't even gotten that far. The only thing I've honestly been thinking about the last couple months is just being on the court and playing again and competing.”
She explained that she hasn’t really thought about it because she’s “just happy to be on the court again.”
Short term though, Stephens knows exactly what she wants: “I'm just super excited to get a really great dinner and finally get a crepe and ice cream and everything bad for me tonight. I'm really looking forward to it… But not in a basic way. It has to be super over the top where you go to the restaurant and order all eight desserts and then just see what happens, see how much you can eat. It's like one of those type of situations.”