Paris (AFP) – Sloane Stephens took aim at media ‘haters’ on Saturday after reaching the French Open final, claiming she does not receive the respect she deserves.
The American was defeated 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 by world number one Simona Halep in Saturday’s championship match at Roland Garros in what was her first defeat in a final after previously boasting a perfect 6-0 record.
The 25-year-old said she was proud to have reached the final but hit out over her treatment in the media after her breakthrough US Open triumph last September was followed by a run of eight successive defeats.
That stretch of misery covered the Asian swing at the end of 2017, the Fed Cup final in Belarus and then Sydney and the Australian Open in January where she suffered back-to-back first round losses.
Her first win in the tour since New York arrived in February in Acapulco.
“You guys are my biggest haters,” she said Saturday.
“Can I just state for the record that all of you guys in here were tweeting that I had a losing record anywhere except for the United States.
“So I think I have done very well to make the finals of the French Open. So if any of you want to tweet that, I would be very happy, give you guys a like, a retweet or something.
“Because you seem to only want to say, ‘she’s 0 and 8 in the other countries, and blah, blah, blah’. Yeah, it’s you and you and a lot of you (pointing to different members of the media).”
Stephens was a set and a break up on Halep before the Romanian’s greater stamina told in the final.
However, Stephens was quick to praise Halep who went into Saturday’s match having lost three successive finals at the Slams.
That run included last year’s Roland Garros showdown against Jelena Ostapenko after leading by a set and 3-0 as well as in Australia in January where she lost a three-setter to Caroline Wozniacki.
“I think she’s had a tough journey. I think winning here is very special for her and I’m glad she finally got her first Slam,” said the American.
“It’s a beautiful thing, very special. No matter how hard the adversity that you go through, there is always light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m glad she finally got her light.”
Stephens will rise to number four in the world after her run to the final in Paris but insisted that the rankings were not a priority.
“It’s great that I’m No. 4, but, I mean, the rankings are what they are, and I hope to stay, improve, get better. It’s not something I think about.”