Stephens on autograph hounds: ‘A mom pulled me by my ponytail’
Sloane Stephens says that since she’s become more successful this year, fans have become more intense when approaching her after matches.
“They’re very hands on and they want to just grab you like you’re a sister or a grandchild,” the world No. 17 told reporters in Cincinnati. “In D.C. some girl was hitting me with a racquet because I wasn’t signing her ball. Then one mom pulled me by my ponytail. The other day I got marker all over my arm from some kid. Just yesterday some kid fell and skinned his whole knee and like the blood on the ground. It’s very intense.”
The 2013 Australian Open semifinalist says she expects things to be worse at the upcoming U.S. Open.
“I think there will be all of that at the U.S. Open and then some, said Stephens, who added that she doesn’t plan on going outside there because, “I know that I will probably not make it out alive. Obviously if I go somewhere I’ll need a little bit extra [security], but I don’t know.”
Stephens also said that, growing up, she never wanted to be popular, but that she doesn’t mind signing autographs. However, when people get out of hand it can be overwhelming.
“Now it’s parents pushing their kids, like, ‘Go.’ The other day this girl was on crutches, and the mom was like, ‘Run!’ I was like, ‘Are you serious?’ That’s how crazy it is. [Before] was like a lot more mellow and sweeter. Like, ‘Oh, I’m your favorite player?’ That’s so cute. Now it’s like people are elbowing each other and it’s way more intense. It’s like more survival. It’s more than just like interaction now. Like there’s no interacting. It’s survival.”