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Is Sloane Stephens the next big thing in tennis? Shaq, Dirk Nowitzki think so

Jan 23, 2013, 11:25 AM EDT

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Australian Open Tennis AP

How big is Sloane Stephens right now? Of course there’s only one way to know: let’s check Twitter. After defeating Serena Williams in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open today, Stephens, 19, has gained about 30,000 Twitter followers: up from around 15,000 on Tuesday. Among those new fans are Shaquille O’Neal and Dirk Nowitzki.

 

 

 

 

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Some Sloane Stephens facts:

She’s the daughter of the late John Stephens, an NFL running back who played for the Patriots, Chiefs and Packers from 1988-94.

Her mom is Sybil Smith Stephens, a former swimmer at Boston University who in 1988 became the first African-American female to be named First Team Division I All-American. She’s now a psychologist.

Born in Plantation, FL, grew up in Fresno, CA, now resides in Coral Springs, FL.

Current world ranking: No. 25.

Started playing tennis at age nine. One of her idols growing up was Serena Williams, whose poster she had on her bedroom wall.

After beating Williams today, Stephens said “I think I’ll put a poster of myself (up) now.”

Is one of two famous Sloanes.