Earlier this year, Sloane Stephens sadly lost both her grandparents within a week of each other. The tennis champion told People that they were her biggest supporters, and she planned to make them proud going forward.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected millions of people worldwide, including Grand Slam champion Sloane Stephens, who lost her aunt and grandmother to the virus in January. Her grandfather passed away within a week of her grandmother.
Stephens was heartbroken and relayed her emotions on her Instagram page, where she talked about how difficult it was to accept their sudden deaths.
Sloane Stephens at the 2019 Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open September 22, 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei Province of China. | Source: Getty Images
In a heartfelt Instagram tribute, Stephens talked about the kind of people her grandparents were and how much they influenced her attitude towards life. She wrote:
"Grandma showed me how powerful we can be in life. How gratitude takes you farther. That kindness wins every time."
In an exclusive with People, Stephens echoed the same sentiments as she opened up about her significant loss revealing how close-knit her family is. She said:
"My grandparents were my no. 1 supporters in everything I do, and I try every day to make them proud."
The talented athlete also empathized with others who have lost close family members and expressed her appreciation for the way the Australian Government, Tennis Australia, and the WTA Tour handled the Australian Open.
Stephens admitted that while the tournament's two-week quarantine rules were difficult, she appreciated that the necessary precautions were being taken to avoid the spread of the deadly virus.
The 27-year-old sports star has been advocating for safety measures during the pandemic and even shared a photo of herself wearing a face mask while traveling on board a flight.
Unfortunately, Stephens was defeated by Russia's Varvara Gracheva in the first round of the Australian Open. Although it was a difficult loss, she is looking forward to her upcoming tournaments.
Currently ranked number 41 globally, Stephens has enjoyed a successful tennis career, which includes her 2017 Grand Slam championship at the US Open and her career-making win against Serena Williams in 2013.
Stephens is passionate about tennis but knowing how short tennis careers are, she values her happiness and has concurrently pursued fulfillment both on and off the courts.
In 2019, the Sloane Stephens Foundation founder and her boyfriend, Jozy Altidore, got engaged after nearly three years of dating. Altidore, 31, is a professional soccer player with Toronto FC and the US men's national team.