World no. 8 and 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens is yet to find her 'A game' in 2019, scoring only four wins in Brisbane, Sydney and the Australian Open, missing the action before Acapulco where she also hit an early exit.
Sloane suffered a terrible loss to Stefanie Voegele at Indian Wells and there was no chance for her to defend Miami title either, beaten by Tatjana Maria in round three. After the quarter-final loss in Charleston, Stephens delivered two singles wins for the USA against Switzerland in Fed Cup, gaining the momentum and heading to Madrid with high hopes of the first significant result of the year.
The American has decided to improve her coaching staff as well ahead of Madrid Open, adding Sven Groeneveld to her team. The famous Dutch coach had previously worked with Monica Seles, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Mary Pierce, Caroline Wozniacki, and Ana Ivanovic before spending four and a half years with Maria Sharapova, leading both Ivanovic and Sharapova towards Roland Garros title.
Sloane will now use his knowledge and experience to improve her game and become Grand Slam contender once again, playing thrilling tennis in Paris a year ago to reach the final, taking the opening set against Simona Halep before losing 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
A year earlier, Sloane wrote one of the best tennis stories of 2017 season, missing all the action before Wimbledon due to an injury and entering Washington barely ranked inside the top-1000. Sloane needed no time to regain the form, advancing into the semi-final in Toronto and Cincinnati before going all the way at the US Open ranked 83rd, losing just three games against Madison Keys in the title match to write history and add her name on the immortal list of Grand Slam winners.