Serena's Heir

Sloane Stephens might be America's next great tennis star

Finlay MacKay for Time

Tennis player Sloane Stephens by Finlay MacKay

The mind of Sloane Stephens pinballs. Its attentions can ricochet from an e-mail to a Gchat to a random news story in the space of a moment--as fast as she runs down shots on the court. America's next great tennis hope--ranked 17th in the world--calls her bejeweled smartphone her "lifeline," "friend" and "boyfriend, if I need it to be." Before a sushi lunch in a Carson, Calif., strip mall, she makes a call, orders, then heads back outside to make another call. She has yet to return serve on 253 unread text messages. Stephens, who turned 20 in March, could be...

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