Alexandra Stevenson

Alexandra Winfield Stevenson (born December 15, 1980) is an American former professional tennis player.

Alexandra Stevenson
Alexandra Stevenson Albuquerque.jpg
Country (sports) United States
ResidenceSan Diego, California
Born (1980-12-15) December 15, 1980 (age 41)
La Jolla, California
Height1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Turned proJune 1999
Retired2018
PlaysRight-handed (one-handed backhand)
Prize money$1,472,403
Singles
Career record427–448 (48.8%)
Career titles1 ITF
Highest rankingNo. 18 (October 28, 2002)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open2R (2001, 2003)
French Open1R (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003)
WimbledonSF (1999)
US Open1R (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004)
Doubles
Career record40–82 (32.8%)
Career titles1 WTA
Highest rankingNo. 67 (July 7, 2003)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open2R (2001)
French Open1R (2001, 2003)
Wimbledon3R (2003)
US Open2R (1999, 2000, 2002, 2003)
Mixed doubles
Career record8–7
Career titles0
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
Wimbledon2R (2000)
US OpenSF (1999)
Alexandra Stevenson
Medal record
Pan American Games
Bronze medal – third place Winnipeg 1999 Women's Singles

Personal lifeEdit

Stevenson's mother is Samantha Stevenson, a sports journalist.[1] Her father is National Basketball Association player Julius Erving. Stevenson met her father for the first time in October 2004 after she initiated a meeting. The meeting was documented by ESPN.com's "Reaching Out". Stevenson keeps up with her father between tournaments.

Stevenson graduated from the University of Colorado in December 2007, with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts, Sociology[citation needed]. She graduated on the Dean's List and is the only final-eight member to have graduated from college while playing professional tennis. Stevenson was inducted into the La Jolla Country Day School Hall of Fame in December 2009 – joining fellow Torrey, Rashaan Salaam, the 1994 Heisman Trophy winner.[2]

On September 11, 2001, Stevenson lost one of her friends – Manny Del Valle, a fireman – in the World Trade Center. She wrote an article in The New York Times about Del Valle, a driver to the players at the US Open.[3] In 2002, the four Grand Slam tournaments allowed Stevenson to wear the patch of DelValle's Engine Company (Engine No. 5) on her Nike cap.[citation needed]

CareerEdit

Early yearsEdit

Stevenson made her professional tennis debut in 1998 as a wild card at the US Open where she lost in the first round to France's Alexandra Fusai. In 1999 Stevenson qualified and ultimately reached the quarterfinals at Birmingham, a grass warmup to Wimbledon, before withdrawing to Magüi Serna because of a stomach muscle pull. The next week, Stevenson was the number one seed during qualifying at Roehampton—and did not drop a set in three rounds as she moved into the main draw at Wimbledon. At Wimbledon, two weeks after graduating from La Jolla Country Day School, she became the second woman qualifier in the tennis Open Era to reach the semifinals. It was her second time at Wimbledon, having competed the year before in the Junior Wimbledon Championships. Stevenson beat 11th seed Julie Halard in the third round. In the fourth round, she saved one match point against Lisa Raymond in a 2–6, 7–6, 6–1 win. She then beat Jelena Dokić in three sets in the quarterfinals, before losing to the eventual champion, third seed Lindsay Davenport. Stevenson had 57 aces during the fortnight, her serve speed over 120 mph. It was the beginning of Stevenson being known for the fastest second serve in the women's game.[citation needed] Stevenson's second serve was 105 mph – 115 mph. Phil Knight, the co-founder and chairman of Nike, flew to London to personally sign Stevenson to a three-year contract.

During the months following her dramatic run at Wimbledon, Stevenson was named Rookie of the Year by Tennis Magazine and named Most Fascinating by People Magazine.[citation needed] She was interviewed by Barbara Walters for a Barbara Walters Special and was featured in a variety of national and international media. Nike flew a dozen flags with Stevenson's name in bold print during her first visit to the iconic campus. Stevenson moved from California to train with Nick Bollettieri at IMG Academy from 1999 to 2002. In 2000 and 2001, Stevenson, often pitted against top 20 players – including Nathalie Tauziat, Mary Pierce, Martina Hingis, Monica Seles, Amanda Coetzer, Lisa Raymond, Dominique Van Roost, Julie Halard, Jennifer Capriati, Serena Williams, and Venus Williams – worked on her aggressive all-court playing style as she found her way in the professional game.

Stevenson reached the quarterfinals at Quebec City in 2001, and the quarterfinals at Linz, defeating Arantxa Sánchez Vicario en route.

But, it was in 2002 that Stevenson moved up to No. 18 in the world. She had played during the European indoor season in 2001 and was the only American player to appear in Moscow in 2001 following the September 11 terrorist attacks. In 2002, prior to the European indoors, she lost to Monica Seles in the Tokyo quarterfinals 6–7(9), 6–7(9), and there were no breaks of serve until the tiebreakers. Alan Mills, the Tokyo referee and renowned Wimbledon referee proclaimed, "This is the finest women's serving match I have ever seen."[citation needed] Soon after, Seles and Stevenson were asked to serve aces for the American Heart Association, bringing awareness to heart disease. Stevenson served 100 aces in 2003.[citation needed] During the 2002 European indoors, Stevenson won her first doubles title with Serena Williams in Leipzig, Germany. She reached the quarterfinals of Filderstadt, defeating number one Jennifer Capriati. She was a finalist at Linz, beating two top ten players en route, including Capriati. Stevenson finished the year at 18, percentage points away from No. 17, Elena Dementieva.

Injury and returnEdit

Stevenson experienced shoulder pain in 2003 at the Wimbledon Championships. She worked on strengthening the area, but was unable to repair the tear. Stevenson went to Birmingham, Alabama, where Dr. James Andrews performed a type II labral repair on her right shoulder in September 2004. In 2006, following 18 months of shoulder strengthening, Stevenson began to mount a comeback.[citation needed]

Stevenson played in the qualifying round at 2006 Wimbledon, but after defeating Jelena Dokić, a player that she had played in 1999 in the Wimbledon quarterfinals, when they were both qualifiers, she suffered a pectoral strain and fell in the second round of qualifiers. At the 2006 Cincinnati Open, she also had a successful run in the qualifying round, but continued shoulder pain caused her to fall in the final round to Chan Chin-wei, 6–3, 3–6, 5–7. By 2009, Stevenson gained shoulder strength and posted strong results.[citation needed] In 2010, Kevin Wilk, Dr. Andrews' physical therapist, said that Stevenson's shoulder "feels like a non-surgical arm."[citation needed]

Stevenson won the Sarasota Clay Court Invitational in April 2012.[citation needed]

Playing styleEdit

Stevenson joined Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Lindsay Davenport, Monica Seles, Mary Pierce and Jennifer Capriati as a premier power player on the WTA Tour in 1999.[citation needed] 6' 1" and right-handed, she plays with a one-handed backhand. Her serve, forehand, and one-handed backhand are noted weapons in Stevenson's all-court game. Her fastest serve was clocked at 125 mph.[citation needed] She had the fastest second serve in the women's game from 1999 to 2004 at 105–115 mph.[citation needed] She was the first woman to amass 57 aces during the Wimbledon fortnight in 1999.[citation needed] The power game came from years of repetitive lessons. At nine years old, Stevenson began traveling from her home in San Diego to Los Angeles to be coached by Robert Lansdorp and Pete Fischer. It was Lansdorp who developed her powerful ground game, changing her two-handed backhand to a one-handed backhand.[citation needed] Lansdorp would tie her arm with an ace bandage to work on the backhand motion.[citation needed] Fischer, who also coached Pete Sampras, developed Stevenson's service motion, often used by coaches to teach "the perfect service motion."[citation needed] Fischer designed service drills to resemble Sampras' fluid serve.[citation needed]

Broadcast careerEdit

Starting in August 2019, Stevenson joined the ESPN tennis commentating team in their coverage of the qualifying and main draws of the 2019 US Open. She also did the commentating at the 2020 and 2021 US Open for ESPN.

WTA career finalsEdit

Singles: 2 (2 runner-ups)Edit

Legend (pre/post 2009)
Grand Slam tournaments (0–0)
Tier I / Premier Mandatory & Premier 5 (0–0)
Tier II / Premier (0–1)
Tier III, IV & V / International (0–1)
Finals by surface
Hard (0–2)
Clay (0–0)
Grass (0–0)
Carpet (0–0)
Finals by setting
Indoor (0–2)
Outdoor (0–0)
Result W–L Date Tournament Tier Surface Opponent Score
Loss 0–1 Feb 2002 Memphis Cup, United States Tier III Hard (i)   Lisa Raymond 6–4, 3–6, 6–7(9–11)
Loss 0–2 Oct 2002 Generali Ladies Linz, Austria Tier II Hard (i)   Justine Henin 3–6, 0–6

Doubles: 1 (1 title)Edit

Legend (pre/post 2009)
Grand Slam tournaments (0–0)
Tier I / Premier Mandatory & Premier 5 (0–0)
Tier II / Premier (1–0)
Tier III, IV & V / International (0–0)
Finals by surface
Hard (0–0)
Grass (0–0)
Clay (0–0)
Carpet (1–0)
Finals by setting
Outdoor (0–0)
Indoor (1–0)
Result W–L Date Tournament Tier Surface Partner Opponents Score
Win 1–0 Sep 2002 Sparkassen Cup, Germany Tier II Carpet (i)   Serena Williams   Janette Husárová
  Paola Suárez
6–3, 7–5

ITF Circuit finalsEdit

Singles: 2 (1 title, 1 runner–up)Edit

Legend
$100,000 tournaments
$75,000 tournaments
$50,000 tournaments
$25,000 tournaments
$10,000 tournaments
Finals by surface
Hard (1–1)
Clay (0–0)
Grass (0–0)
Carpet (0–0)
Result W–L Date Tournament Tier Surface Opponent Score
Win 1–0 Feb 1998 Midland Classic, United States 50,000 Hard (i)   Samantha Reeves 7–6(10–8), 6–1
Loss 1–1 May 2009 ITF Carson, United States 50,000 Hard   Valérie Tétreault 6–4, 2–6, 4–6

Doubles: 2 (2 runner-ups)Edit

Legend
$100,000 tournaments
$75,000 tournaments
$50,000 tournaments
$25,000 tournaments
$10,000 tournaments
Finals by surface
Hard (0–1)
Clay (0–1)
Grass (0–0)
Carpet (0–0)
Result W–L Date Tournament Tier Surface Partner Opponents Score
Loss 0–1 May 2015 ITF Indian Harbour Beach,
United States
50,000 Clay   Angelina Gabueva   Maria Sanchez
  Taylor Townsend
0–6, 1–6
Loss 0–2 Sep 2016 ITF Atlanta, United States 50,000 Hard   Taylor Townsend   Ingrid Neel
  Luisa Stefani
6–4, 4–6, [5–10]

Singles performance timelineEdit

Key
W  F  SF QF #R RR Q# P# DNQ A Z# PO G F-S SF-B NMS P NH
(W) Won; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (P#) preliminary round; (DNQ) did not qualify; (A) absent; (Z#) Davis/Fed Cup Zonal Group (with number indication) or (PO) play-off; (G) gold, (F-S) silver or (SF-B) bronze Olympic/Paralympic medal; a (NMS) downgraded Masters Series/1000 tournament; (P) postponed; (NH) not held. SR=strike rate (events won/competed)
Tournament 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 Career W–L
Grand Slam tournaments
Australian Open A A A A 1R 2R 1R 2R 1R A A A A 2–5
French Open A A A A 1R 1R 1R 1R A A A A A 0–4
Wimbledon A A A SF 2R 2R 1R 1R A A A A A 7–5
US Open A A 1R 1R 1R 1R 1R 1R 1R A A A A 0–7
Win–Loss 0–0 0–0 0–1 5–2 1–4 2–4 0–4 1–4 0–2 0–0 0–0 0–0 0–0 9–21
Year-end championship
WTA Tour Championships A A A A A A A A A A A A 0 / 0
Olympic Games
Summer Olympics A NH NH NH A NH NH NH A NH NH NH A 0 / 0
Tier I tournaments
Doha _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ A 0 / 0
Indian Wells 1R 1R A 2R 2R 1R 4R 2R 1R A 1R A A 0 / 9
Key Biscayne A A 1R A 1R 2R 4R 2R 1R A A A A 0 / 6
Charleston A A A 1R 1R 2R A 1R 1R 3R A A 2R 0 / 7
Berlin A A A A 2R A A A A A A A A 0 / 1
Rome A A A A 1R A A 1R A A A A A 0 / 2
Montreal/Toronto A A A 1R 1R A 3R A A A A A 0 / 3
Tokyo A A A A 2R A QF 1R A A A A 0 / 3
Moscow _ A A A A 2R A 2R A A A A 0 / 2
San Diego _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ A A A A 0 / 0
Zurich A A A A A 1R QF 2R A A A A 0 / 3
Career statistics
Titles/Finals 0–0 0–0 0–0 0–0 0–0 0–0 0–1 0–0 0–0 0–0 0–0 0–0 0–0 0–1
Overall Win–Loss 213–2191
Year-end ranking 355 394 126 46 93 60 18 82 282 645 394 399

_ = tournament was either not held or not a Tier I event

1 If Fed Cup (0–1 overall) participation is included, her record stands at 213–220 overall

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ McCarvel, Nicholas. "Initial Wimbledon Run Still Drives a Former Semifinalist". New York Times. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  2. ^ Reaching Out ESPN.com
  3. ^ Stevenson, Alexandra (September 23, 2001). "Perspective; A Player Will Always Remember the Driver of Car 61". The New York Times. Retrieved April 15, 2011.

External linksEdit