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Sloane Stephens denies celebrating when Serena Williams lost at Australian Open

Sloane Stephens smilingA new layer of drama was added to the rocky relationship between Sloane Stephens and Serena Williams when it looked like the youngster was happy to see the veteran tennis star lose at the Australian Open over the weekend.

7 Sports in Australia was filming Stephens’ reaction to watching Williams lose her fourth-round match to Ana Ivanovic on Sunday afternoon in Melbourne. Stephens was working out in a gym at the time and Channel 7 says they had a right to film the shot, which showed Stephens smiling and appearing to celebrate Serena’s defeat.

However, Channel 7 says she was mimicking the elaborate celebration from Ivanovic’s entourage rather than cheering Serena’s loss. Stephens, for her part, lost in the fourth-round of the tournament as well, and expressed displeasure with Channel 7 for showing her reaction.

“Yeah, it’s a little much,” Stephens said of 7 Sports. ”Then for them to put it on TV was a little extra.”

Stephens also explained that she was imitating Ivanovic’s crew, not celebrating Serena’s defeat.

“At the end of the match, Ivanovic’s coaches pretty much gave each other headbutts and kisses and I thought that was the funniest thing ever,” Stephens said after her defeat to Victoria Azarenka via the Sydney Morning Herald. “Andrew [hitting partner Andrew Fitzpatrick] and I were like, ‘Oh my God, we, we’re going to do the same thing.

“Then, of course, in posts and everything … I’m cheering against Serena, which had nothing to do with it. So that was it. We were just having some fun.”

So was Stephens just laughing about the reaction from Ivanovic’s crew, or was she celebrating that Serena lost? That’s up to you to decide. And if you are unfamiliar with the tension between Sloane and Serena and don’t understand why Stephens theoretically would be happy to watch Serena lose, read this.

I know that Sloane likes to smile a lot by nature, but I’m not sure if I completely buy her excuse. I think she was probably happy to see Serena lose, and for good reason.

Serena Williams responds: I’m a Sloane Stephens fan

Serena Williams Sloane StephensSerena Williams responded to the criticism she faced from Sloane Stephens by saying she is a big fan of the up-and-coming player.

In an interview with ESPN The Magazine, Stephens said her mentor-protege relationship with Williams had been overblown by the media, and that Williams essentially dropped her as a friend after losing to her at the Australian Open in January.

Following her second-round match at the Madrid Open on Tuesday, Williams was asked about Stephens’ criticism.

“I’m a big Sloane Stephens fan and always have been,” Williams said at a press conference after beating Lourdes Dominguez 6-2, 7-5, per the AFP.

“I’ve always said that I think she can be the best in the world. I’ll always continue to think that and always be rooting for her.

“I really just always wish her and anyone, really, especially from America the best. We don’t have that many American players, so it’s always exciting to see so many young players doing so well.”

Williams certainly was playing nice with Stephens. That might be because the two supposedly spoke and hashed out their problems.

Stephens tweeted to that effect:

So Stephens came out roaring like a young lion in the interview, but she really backed off. Maybe she couldn’t handle the negative publicity that came as a result of her comments.

H/T Beyond the Baseline

Sloane Stephens blasts Serena Williams

Sloane StephensSloane Stephens absolutely obliterated Serena Williams in an interview with ESPN The Magazine, saying the two do not enjoy a close relationship and that she has been shunned by Williams ever since beating the veteran at the Australian Open.

In the interview, Stephens says her relationship with Williams has completely deteriorated since she defeated the decorated 31-year-old in the quarterfinals at the Aussie Open in January. She also says that Williams was not her favorite player growing up and nothing like a mentor to her, contrary to how the story has been told by the media.

The interview appears in the May 13 issue of the magazine. The excerpts below come from Beyond the Baseline.

“She’s not said one word to me, not spoken to me, not said hi, not looked my way, not been in the same room with me since I played her in Australia,” Stephens says. “And that should tell everyone something, how she went from saying all these nice things about me to unfollowing me on Twitter.”

Stephens’ mother reportedly tried to stop her from going on, but Stephens continued.

“Like, seriously! People should know. They think she’s so friendly and she’s so this and she’s so that — no, that’s not reality! You don’t unfollow someone on Twitter, delete them off of BlackBerry Messenger. I mean, what for? Why?”

Stephens also says that a cryptic tweet sent by Williams shortly after their Australian Open match was about her:

“I was like, ‘You really don’t think I know that that’s about me?’” Stephens tells the magazine, per Beyond the Baseline.

Stephens also dismisses the notion that Williams was her favorite player. She says Kim Clijsters became her favorite player after she was denied autographs from the Williams sisters.

In the interview, Stephens says she was in Delray Beach, Fla., at a Fed Cup event when she was 12 and had a poster she was hoping to have signed by Venus and Serena.

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Serena Williams smashes her racquet during loss (Video)

Serena Williams was bounced in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open on Wednesday by 19-year-old Sloane Stephens 3-6, 7-5, 6-4. The defeat marked the first time Serena lost to an American player who was younger than her. While it would be premature to call this a “changing of the guard” in women’s tennis, it is a sign of things to come.

Williams, who was already battling an ankle injury suffered during her first-round match, took a medical timeout during the second set to address back spasms. She went on to lose the set and match, but she says she did not consider quitting because of the injury.

Stephens clearly frustrated Williams, because Serena smashed her racquet in anger during the third set.

Here is what the racquet looked like after being destroyed:

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