WATCH: Sloane Stephens on her play at the WTA Finals
Be warned. Sloane Stephens doesn't want to hear anyone say she hasn't had a good season, even though it didn't including winning another Grand Slam title.
The 25-year-old ended the season ranked No. 6—her best-ever finish—won the Miami Open and was runner-up at the French Open and the WTA Finals. In 2017, Stephens won her first Grand Slam at the US Open, but did not win another match for the rest of the season.
“I think my biggest thing was obviously after [winning] the US Open, everyone was, like, ‘Oh, she's a one-hit wonder, she'll never do anything again, it was just lucky, no one was playing, blah, blah, blah,’" Stephens told press at Singapore. "I think this season I was just like, I really want to play a little more consistent, I want to have some better results in the bigger tournaments and just do better and show that I'm a Top 10 player. I did that throughout the year. Obviously winning Miami, finals of another Grand Slam, the finals in Montreal, quarters of the US Open, [while] defending a title.
"Could I have done better? Yeah. Could I have done better in smaller tournaments? Could I have done some things differently, schedule changes, whatever? Yeah, I could have. But I think of not playing tennis for 11 months and having surgery and having to reset my whole life and career and figure out what was really important to me tennis-wise. That this year I have done extremely well. I don't think anyone can say that I had a bad season. So from what I did this year, I want to build for next year.”
Like Stephens, WTA Finals champion Elina Svitolina hit back at critics who questioned her record coming into the tournament. Svitolina has won four titles this season, starting with Brisbane, Dubai and Rome, but did not beat another Top 40 player until the WTA Finals, when she defeated six Top 10 players to hoist the trophy.
Stephens says players should ignore comments from those who don't have to play themselves.
“I think obviously a lot of the top girls who have up-and-down results or shaky results, a win here and then they lose, we all kind of deal with the same thing,” Stephens said. “I definitely know what she's talking about. It's not like [critics] can go out there and play the match, you can't change your legs with them and they run for you. That's not how it works. That a lot of people, whether it be on Twitter or commentators, they're always, like, ‘Well, in my day, or if I had the chance to do it, if I was competing—but you're not. That kind of changes things.
"Even in her position, like, [Elina] is a great player. Obviously she's had an amazing year, a great year. This year I have had a great year. People from the outside looking in who are not tennis—whatever, this is our job.”
This Week on Tennis Channel PLUS:
ATP Paris (Mon - Sun 10.29 - 11.4)
- Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic headline the ATP Rolex Paris Masters. Watch live coverage from three courts on Tennis Channel PLUS beginning Monday 10/29 at 6:00 AM EST.
WTA Zhuhai (Mon - Sun 10.29 - 11.4)
- Tennis Channel PLUS has live action of Zhuhai starting Tuesday 10/30 at 12:30 AM EST
USTA Tyler (Tue - Sun 10.30 - 11.4)
-Tennis Channel PLUS features live competition and on-demand coverage of every WTA match from USTA Tyler beginning Tuesday 10/30 11:00 AM EST