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Sloane Stephens' parents revealed including her dad John, a former NFL player

Joshua Rogers January 18, 2022
ASB Classic Players' Party
Photo by Dave Rowland/Getty Images

The tennis player recently married soccer star Jozy Altidore and fans want to know more about Sloane Stephens’ parents, including mom Sybil Smith and her father John Stephens, who played football in the NFL.

American tennis star Sloane Stephens tied the knot with soccer player Jozy Altidore on New Year’s Day 2022. The 2017 US Open champion uploaded a photo of herself and her husband on their big day with the date ‘1.1.22’.

The couple were originally childhood friends and reconnected in 2016. Altidore – who plays for Major League Soccer side Toronto FC and the USA men’s soccer team – proposed in 2019. Stephens and Altidore married at St Regis Bal Harbour in Miami Beach, Florida, according to reports.

Sloane takes on British hopeful Emma Raducanu in the first round of the 2022 Australian Open on 18 January.

Sloane Stephens’ parents – mom, Sybil

The 28-year-old tennis player comes from a family of sporting greatness and was always destined to be a top athlete. She was born on 20 March 1993 in Plantation, Florida. Sloane Stephens’ parents are mother, Sybil Smith, and father, John Stephens.

Sloane’s mother Sybil was a college swimmer and the first African-American woman to be named a first-team All-American swimmer in Division I. She is enshrined in the Boston University Athletic Hall of Fame and is widely recognised as the greatest swimmer in the university’s history. Sybil grew up in Fresno, California, although her father was originally from Trinidad.

Naomi Osaka | Official Trailer | Netflix

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Sloane praised ‘incredible’ mom after US Open win

Smith separated from Sloane’s father John (more on him in a minute) in 1994. Sybil and John had one other child, John Stephens Jr, who plays football at TCU.

Sybil married Sheldon Farrell in 1997. Farrell was a competitive recreational tennis player and one of the main inspirations for Sloane getting into tennis. The couple had a child together, Shawn Farrell, who is Sloane’s half-brother and currently a recording artist signed to Empire Distribution. Stephen’s step-father, Sheldon, however, sadly died from cancer in 2007.

Sybil and Sloane remain very close to this day and her mother can often be seen supporting her at tennis events. After winning the 2017 US Open, Sloane said of her mom: “We’ve been on such a journey together. My mom is incredible. 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 I’d be lucky if I was a Division II player.”

Photo by Cynthia Lum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

More on Sloane Stephens’ father, former football player John Stephens

Sloane Stephens’ biological father is former professional American football player John Stephens. John Stephens was a running back in the NFL. The New England Patriots drafted him in the 1988 NFL Draft.

According to Sports On Earth, Sloane’s father won the 1988 Rookie of the Year award, rushing for 1,168 and four touchdowns, and made the Pro Bowl. He played five seasons with the Patriots before playing for three different teams (Falcons, Packers and Chiefs) in 1993.

Stephens didn’t talk to her biological father until she was 13 years old, when he expressed an interest in getting to know her.

However, when Sloane was just 16, John died in a car accident. Stephens died in Keithville, Louisiana, on 1 September 2009 while Sloane was competing in the US Open junior tournament.

I was sitting right in front of the transportation tent and my sister called me and was like: ‘Dad died last night in a car accident.‘ I was hysterical,“ Sloane told Sports Illustrated.

Photo by Herb Snitzer/Getty Images
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Joshua is a senior sports writer with over four years' experience in online writing. He graduated with a BA in Ancient History from The University of Manchester before receiving an MA in Sports Journalism from The University of Central Lancashire. He became a trending writer for a leading social publisher and later spent time covering the 2018 World Cup for The Mirror Online. He then moved to a social marketing agency where he acted as website editor. His specialties on The Focus include F1, tennis, NBA, NFL and combat sports.