For decades, American women have been a dominant force in professional tennis. Of course, that force largely consisted of Venus and Serena Williams—who between them own a remarkable 30 Grand Slam singles titles. Since Venus turned pro in 1994, and Serena a year later, the Williams sisters have been the standard bearers for the red, white, and blue in the women’s game.
But now, even as Venus, 38, and new mother Serena, 36, continue to be major contenders in the game’s major events, they’ve found an ever-increasing amount of help in carrying the flag, as a host of young American stars are earning their stripes in women’s tennis.
At this spring’s French Open, the U.S. boasted 14 women inside the game’s Top 100 (more than any other country), including all of last year’s US Open semifinalists–Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys, and Coco Vandeweghe—inside the Top 20. What’s more, nine of those women are 25 or younger, meaning this group figures to be a force in the sport for years to come. The U.S, also has the game’s top-ranked junior girl, 16-year-old Whitney Osuigwe, making the promise of a bright future that much brighter.
Stephens, 25, has enjoyed the largest breakthrough of this group, capturing her first Grand Slam singles title at last year’s US Open over Keys in the first All-American US Open women’s final since the Williams sisters squared off in 2002. With that win, Stephens emerged from the ranks of the up-and-comers to the elite echelon of the here-and-nowers. In March, she captured the Miami Open crown breaking into the Top 10 for the first time in her career and reached the final of the 2018 French Open in early June.
“There’s a lot to like about U.S. women’s tennis right now,” says U.S. Tennis Association president Katrina Adams. “There’s so much talent in this incredible group of young women and their potential is unlimited. We feel good about where they’re at—and even better about where they’re going.”