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Injury fightback lifts gritty Sloane Stephens to US Open crown

Injury fightback lifts gritty Sloane Stephens to US Open crown

Q. I know you probably heard that [your boyfriend] Jozy [Altidore] just scored two goals.

Stephens' long lay-off meant she was ranked 975 when she made her summer return, but will now move all the way up to world number 17 with her win in Flushing Meadows. "She can buy me drinks, all of the drinks", smiled Keys, when asked if she would celebrate with Stephens.

"I should retire now - I'm never going to be able top this". "Obviously, I didn't play my best tennis today and was disappointed, but Sloane, being the great friend that she was, was very supportive".

"If the situation was the other way around, Maddy would have said the same thing".

It's a determination bred in frustration after being forced to watch the Australian Open from her couch unable to walk after surgery in January.

"I was literally in my room twiddling my thumbs, ' she said".

"I was super limited, so that whole 15 weeks was super tough", Stephens said. "Nor did I think I was going to be anywhere near the top 100".

Despite the loss, the 22-year-old says she'll look back on the experience fondly.

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Sidelined for almost a year after sustaining a right foot stress fracture, Stephens returned to competitive tennis at Wimbledon with a first-round exit against Alison Riske. Lost her next match, too, in Washington. "I have been through a lot", Stephens said. Before winning the U.S. Open, her career earnings were $4,519,709. "Just like, wow", she said later.

Coincidentally, in June, the U.S. Open golf tournament was won by Palm Beach County product Brooks Koepka. "I'm just happy to be in the final". Stephens, however, will have to pick up the bar tab as the two head out for a night on the town in the Big Apple.

The American's delight at securing a maiden grand slam title was clear for all to see throughout the trophy presentation and her subsequent news conference.

"Of course, girl", she replied to her questioner. "Man, if that doesn't make you want to play tennis, I don't know what will. Man".

Stephens then took a commanding lead in the second set as she cruised to her first Grand Slam title in dominant fashion.

Keys appeared to be struggling with a leg injury during the final and paid tribute to her opponent afterwards, who she shares a close bond with.

She said: "I definitely think my play today came down to nerves and all of that, and I just don't think I handled the occasion perfectly. I'm just going to keep going with that and ride that wave for as long as I can". I think that's everyone's goal, everyone's dream.

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