Former US Open champion Sloane Stephens posted a picture with fellow WTA players Maria Sakkari and Ajla Tomjlanovic on her Instagram Stories.
The trio is currently in Guadalajara to compete at the 2022 WTA Guadalajara Open starting on October 17.
“Friends,” Stephens captioned the post.
“I started my foundation when I was 20 because I recognized that tennis could be an incredible lifelong sport” – Sloane Stephens
Sloane Stephens recently spoke to Baseline about celebrating 10 years of her foundation and why she started it in the first place.
Stephens recognized that tennis was inaccessible to many youths, especially those from poorer backgrounds.
“It’s hard to believe, but next year is our 10-year anniversary,” Stepehens said. “I started my foundation when I was 20 because I recognized that tennis could be an incredible lifelong sport and open so many doors, but it has a lot of barriers to entry that make it inaccessible or unapproachable for a lot of youth, especially in under -resourced communities.”
Stephens pointed out that while tennis has made progress in terms of representation and diversity, there is still a long way to go. She also elaborated on her foundation’s mission, saying she wanted to provide kids with “an amazing first interaction with the sport.”
“Tennis has made strides in terms of representation and diversity, even within my lifetime, but we still have a long way to go,” she continued. “I wanted to create an opportunity for kids to have an amazing first interaction with the sport, and I want tennis to be the hook that keeps kids healthy, safe and thriving in school.”
The former US Open champion went on to speak about her foundation’s partnership with the Compton Unified School District and the tennis programs they run within their elementary schools, which makes her “really proud.”
We have programs in over 20 schools within the Compton Unified School District, and work with over 10,000 youth each year,” Stephens said. “For example, we have recess tennis programs in every elementary school in the district. Within those schools, every single child touches a racquet during recess, and every child has the opportunity to work with academic tutors and mental health/social work professionals. That makes me really proud.”