INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Sloane Stephens lost Monday in the third round at the BNP Paribas Open, but she still managed to get people talking (or at least me) with an interesting revelation during her postmatch news conference.
When asked about her future in the sport, Stephens, who turns 25 next week, revealed she had no plans of playing well into her 30s like many of her peers are doing these days. But she did admit she's keeping a close eye on Serena Williams in her return after giving birth. Here's the exchange Stephens, the reigning US Open champion, had with reporters after she said she hopes to play only another five years on tour:
Question: "Only five [years]?"
Stephens: "I mean, if all goes well, you know, hopefully in that five years I'll win some more tournaments and hopefully, you know, do some other amazing things on and off the court. So this does not define how my career is going to end up."
Question: "Roger [Federer] is 36."
Stephens: "I'm definitely not playing that long. Definitely not."
Question: "Why not?"
Stephens: "Why not? Well, I mean, -- well, we'll see. I mean, Serena had a baby, and eventually I want to have a baby as well. So if she comes back and wins a couple more slams, maybe I will think about it. But I'm kind of just gauging it on how well she does and then we'll see."
While it's safe to assume many players are using Serena's return as a gauge for their own future and decisions regarding family planning, Stephens is one of the first to actually say that aloud. And considering the, ahem, strained (OK, frenemy might be the better word) relationship between the two, it's perhaps even more interesting to hear.
So, you know, no pressure, Serena.
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