After Sloane Stephens won the biggest match of her career, she took time to thank the one person who has supported her the most.
"We've been on such a journey together. My mom is incredible," Stephens said after winning her first U.S. Open title. "I think parents don’t get enough credit. When I was 11 years old, my mom took me to a tennis academy. One of the directors there told my mom that I'd be lucky if I was a Division II player and I got a scholarship.
"I think any parent that ever supports their child. You could be me one day. So parents, never give up on your kids. If they want to do something, always encourage them."
Her mother, Sybil Smith, was a swimmer at Boston University who became the first African American to be recognized as first team Division I All-American. On Saturday, Stephens went up to her box after the victory and hugged her coach Kamau Murray, her boyfriend Jozy Altidore and others. She and Smith shared a long embrace before Stephens returned to the court for the trophy presentation.
Stephens' father, John Stephens, was a former NFL running back. He died in a car accident in 2009.