It appears as though Sloane Stephens is making a 'toast' on having a better 2023 season than this past year. "Here's to a successful journey together, let's get to work," the 2017 U.S. Open winner said of her new endeavors for her reformulated tennis career.
What is Stephens excited about? She has just acquired a new coach, Francis Roig who was recently released from Rafael Nadal's team after 18 years of working with the iconic tennis professional. What made Rafael Nadal end his franchise with his coach Francis Roig? The situation wasn't clear on how or why Nadal did it but specualtion hints of a soon slow down of touring and retirement for the beloved Spaniard player.
It was heard that Roig had wanted to be in partnership with more than one player. The Barcelonian was now available and Stephens needed more flavor to broaden her game for winning. This is something that the no. 37 ranked American has been lacking since last February when she won her seventh career title in Guadalajara.
Stephens hasn't won a title in four years and totally misses the excitement and satisfaction. It was Sloane's juggling of coaches that wasn't having a positive effect on her game. She had worked with Thomas Hogstedt and then Nick Saviano.
Kamau Murray had been around for a while and was a driving force when she'd won the U.S. Open title five years ago. But Kamau had osther objectives for his career and decided to start helping the South side of Chicago by creating the XS Tennis Program.
It was at one point Stephens and her practice partner were working in conjunction on strategies to help bring in more success to her matches. The intensity she needed for clay and grass court performances wasn't there and Roig seemed a very honorable fit in her team being that he led Nadal to 22 Grand slams during the years he teamed with him.
This season wasn't the easiest and not going past the 3rd round of the French Open, losing the first round of Wimbledon and the second round at the U.S. Open was a signal. The idea of getting more insight before the new season starts was paramount importance in Stephens' mind.
There will be times when the strategies used by players will work with one opponent but not others. Consistency is the key and Sloane feels lucky and hopeful that Francis Roig will be her guiding light to elevating her game and earning more titles.
She will start off her season with the WTA 250 ASB Classic in New Zealand. It was 7 years ago that she'd won the Auckland title and feels this coming year will be more successful and rewarding. Stephens could only give a broad smile and say "Happy to have Francis Roig join my team..."