Brandon Burke Interviews 2017 US Open Champion Sloane Stephens

Sloane Stephens is an American professional tennis player. She achieved a career-best ranking of No. 3 in the world after Wimbledon in 2018. Stephens was the 2017 US Open champion, and has won six WTA singles titles in total.

Brandon Burke, a lawyer and the son of ACE Tennis President Doug Burke, recently started consulting with 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens’ nonprofit foundation based out of Compton, California. Here he sits down with Sloane to ask her a few questions about her foundation, spending time in Toronto, and how she has been spending her time over the past few weeks:

Brandon: When and why did you start the Sloane Stephens Foundation (SSF)?

Sloane: Many people think that I started the Sloane Stephens Foundation (SSF) after I won the US Open in 2017, but I actually started SSF in 2013. From very early in my pro career I knew that I wanted to leave behind a legacy in tennis. I wanted to find a way to use the sport that I love and that has given me so much to help in giving others opportunities, to show them that tennis can be a vehicle to so many other things. I have been able to do that with the SSF over the past five years, and hope to continue to help kids and families by exposing them to tennis for years to come.

Brandon: What is your vision for the SSF in the coming years?

The SSF is currently partnered with the Compton Unified School District (CUSD) to provide tennis programming to kids at schools in the district. So far, we have trained 79 CUSD teachers to teach tennis at 21 elementary schools, exposing more than 4000 kids to our tennis programs. We’re hoping to expose as many as 25,000 kids in Compton to our school tennis programming in the years to come as we continue to grow. Also, if the opportunity presented itself, I would love to expand the SSF and the tennis programs that we offer to another school district.

Brandon: How have you been keeping busy during this time?

Sloane: I’ve been using this time to train hard at home. My fiancée and I actually built a makeshift home gym to keep ourselves busy and have somewhere to work out while self-isolating. As tough as it is to not be able to compete week in and out, I try to focus on the positives and the things that I can control. For me, that’s been getting to spend more time with my family, and making sure that I am ready to go when things calm down and tournaments start back up. Until then, I want to remind everyone how important it is to continue to practice social distancing!

Brandon: Many would say that you’re an “honorary Canadian.” I know that you spend a lot of time in Toronto with your fiancée, Jozy Altidore, who plays for Toronto F.C. Do you like the city?
Sloane: I love Toronto, and have enjoyed getting to spend time here over the past few years! When I got a stress fracture in my foot and was out for almost 11 months in 2016-2017, I got to spend a lot of time in Toronto and really started to love the city and find a groove here that worked for me. In particular, I love how multicultural the city is, and I love the food (Toronto has some of the best Jamaican food in the world in my opinion), but I hate the winters.

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