Alexandra Stevenson

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Alexandra Stevenson
Alexandra Stevenson Albuquerque.jpg
Country  United States
Residence San Diego, California, U.S.
Born (1980-12-15) December 15, 1980 (age 33)
La Jolla, California, U.S.
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Turned pro June 1999
Retired Active
Plays Right-handed (one-handed backhand)
Prize money US$1,430,348
Singles
Career record 324 - 355
Career titles 0 WTA, 1 ITF
Highest ranking No. 18 (October 28, 2002)
Current ranking No. 567 (August 19, 2014)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open 2R (2001, 2003)
French Open 1R (2000-2003)
Wimbledon SF (1999)
US Open 1R (1998-2004)
Doubles
Career record 31–65
Career titles 1 WTA, 0 ITF
Highest ranking No. 67 (July 7, 2003)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open 2R (2001)
French Open 1R (2001-2003)
Wimbledon 3R (2003)
US Open 2R (1999, 2000, 2002, 2003)

Alexandra Winfield Stevenson (born December 15, 1980 in La Jolla, California) is a professional tennis player from the United States. She is a former top-20 player in singles.

Biography[edit]

Stevenson made her professional debut in 1999 at Wimbledon, two weeks following graduation from La Jolla Country Day School. At the Wimbledon Championships, Stevenson became the first woman qualifier in the Tennis Open Era to reach the semi-finals. It was her second time at Wimbledon, having competed the year before in the Junior Wimbledon Championships. In 1999, Stevenson qualified to 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. Stevenson beat number 8 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 quarter-finals, before an off day led to a surprising straight sets loss to the eventual champion, Lindsay Davenport. Stevenson had 57 aces during the fortnight, her serve speed in the 120s. But, it was the beginning of Stevenson being known for the fastest second serve in the women's game. Stevenson's second serve was 105 mph - 115 mph. Stevenson joined Chris Evert and Anna Kournikova as the only women in recent times to reach the semi-finals on their Wimbledon debut. Phil Knight, the co-founder and chairman of Nike, Inc. flew to London to personally sign Stevenson to a three-year Nike 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. She was interviewed by Barbara Walters for a Barbara Walters Special and was featured in a variety of national and international media. Nike, Inc. 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 1999-2002. 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. Her firepower, natural athletic genes (Julius Ervin is her biological father), amazing ball striking, astonishing groundstrokes, and the best serve ever in womens tennis, soon made her the most feared player on tour.

On September 11, 2001, Stevenson lost one of her friends - Manny Del Valle Jr., a fireman in the World Trade Center. Stevenson wrote an article in the New York Times about Del Valle, a driver to the players at the US Open.[1] In 2002, the four Grand Slams allowed Stevenson to wear the patch of DelValle's Engine Company (Engine No. 5) on her NIKE hat. Stevenson reached the quarterfinals at Quebec City in 2001, and the quarterfinals at Linz, defeating Arantxa Sánchez Vicario en route.

But, it was 2002 that lifted Stevenson to No. 18 in the world. Stevenson had played during the European indoor season in 2001 and was the only American player following 9/11 in Moscow. In 2002, prior to the European indoors, she lost to Monica Seles in the Tokyo quarterfinals 7–6(11–9), 7–6(11–9) 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." Soon after, Seles and Stevenson would be asked to serve aces for the American Heart Association, bringing awareness to heart disease. Stevenson had 100 aces in 2003. 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 four top ten players en route, including Capriati. Stevenson finished the year at 18, percentage points away from No. 17 Elena Dementieva and the WTA Tour Championships. She appeared as an alternate.

She is generally regarded by most experts, fans, and fellow players as the best female tennis player in the sports history.

WTA Tour finals[edit]

Singles: 2 (0-2)[edit]

Legend: Before 2009 Legend: Starting in 2009
Grand Slam tournaments (0–0)
Olympic Gold (0–0)
WTA Championships (0–0)
Tier I (0–0) Premier Mandatory (0–0)
Tier II (0–1) Premier 5 (0–0)
Tier III (0–1) Premier (0–0)
Tier IV & V (0–0) International (0–0)
Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent in the final Score
Runner-up 1. 23 February 2002 United States Memphis Hard (i) United States Lisa Raymond 6–4, 3–6, 6–7(9)
Runner-up 2. 21 October 2002 Austria Linz Carpet Belgium Justine Henin 3–6, 0–6

Doubles: 1 (1-0)[edit]

Legend: Before 2009 Legend: Starting in 2009
Grand Slam tournaments (0–0)
Olympic Gold (0–0)
WTA Championships (0–0)
Tier I (0–0) Premier Mandatory (0–0)
Tier II (1–0) Premier 5 (0–0)
Tier III (0–0) Premier (0–0)
Tier IV & V (0–0) International (0–0)
Outcome No. Date Championship Surface Partner Opponent Score
Winner 1. 24 September 2002 Germany Leipzig, Germany Carpet United States Serena Williams Slovakia Janette Husárová
Argentina Paola Suárez
6–3, 7–5


ITF circuit singles finals (1–1)[edit]

$100,000 tournaments
$75,000 tournaments
$50,000 tournaments
$25,000 tournaments
$10,000 tournaments
Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent Score
Winner 1. 09-Feb-1998 United States Midland, USA Hard (i) United States Samantha Reeves 7-6(8), 6-1
Runner-up 1. 25-May-2009 United States Carson, California, USA Hard Canada Valerie Tetreault 6-4, 2-6, 4-6

Playing style[edit]

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. 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. She had the fastest second serve in the women's game from 1999-2004 at 105-115 mph. She was the first woman to amass 57 aces during the Wimbledon fortnight in 1999. 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. Lansdorp would tie her arm with an ace bandage to work on the backhand motion. Fischer, who also coached Pete Sampras, developed Stevenson's service motion, often used by coaches to teach "the perfect service motion." Fischer designed service drills to resemble Sampras' fluid serve.

Early career[edit]

As a junior player, Stevenson won the US Open girls' doubles title in 1997. She was ranked the No. 1 junior in the US in 1996.

Stevenson reached her career-high ranking of 18th on October 28, 2002.

Interesting Facts:

  • Won first doubles title (with Serena Williams) during Leipzig, Germany 2002
  • US Open Mixed Doubles SemiFinals with American Brian MacPhie
  • First female qualifier to reach Wimbledon Semifinals (John McEnroe accomplished this in 1980)
  • Qualifying to quarterfinals, Birmingham, week before Wimbledon Semifinals
  • Only amateur to qualify and then win at the Midland, Michigan professional event (at 17 years old)
  • Has been featured in a variety of national and international media.
  • Graduated from La Jolla Country Day School in May, 1999 (with honors and 3.4 average)
  • Other interests include drama and singing. Has performed in The Nutcracker (San Diego City Ballet) Guys and Dolls (high school production), Bye Bye Birdie (high school production), Grease (high school production) among other plays and musicals. Off Broadway musical walk-on role. Sang, "Joy to the World" for Millennium audience in Australia at Hopman Cup – televised throughout Australia.

Awards and honors

  • Member of U.S. Hopman Cup Team (2000)
  • Member of U.S. Pan American Games Team (1999) (Bronze medal)
  • Member U.S. Professional Development Program (1998–2002)
  • Member U.S. National Team (1994–1996)
  • Received 1997 Breitbard Athlete of the Year Award
  • Given Key to the city of San Diego by Mayor 1999
  • Member United States Fed Cup team 2002-2003 (three teams)
  • Recognized by Governor of South Carolina for efforts to bring down the Confederate flag over the State House. Flag was removed to a confederate cemetery.
  • Recognized by elementary schools in California for "Where in the World is Alexandra" – an email sent to elementary classrooms from Alexandra Stevenson about tennis around the world and what is required of a tennis player and citizen of world.
  • "Alexandra's Aces" In 2003 served 127 aces to benefit American Heart Association
  • Graduated December 15, 2007, University of Colorado. Bachelor of Liberal Arts, Sociology, Dean's List. Honor Society. (Unique as Final 8 member to have graduated while playing professional tennis.)
  • Inducted into the La Jolla Country Day School Hall of Fame on December 4, 2009.

Injury and return[edit]

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 on September 21, 2004. Alexandra had a Type II labrum repair. Overhead athletes (tennis players and pitchers) tear the labrum at the top of the socket – and she did that between 11:00 and 1:00 on a clock face. When a tennis player pulls on the biceps during a serve motion, this contributes to the injury, and as the labrum detaches, it becomes painful. This also adds strain to the rotator and can cause a grinding feeling, popping and pain. In 2006, following 18 months of shoulder strengthening, Stevenson began to mount a comeback.[citation needed]

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

Stevenson won the Sarasota Clay Court Invitational April 2012.

Personal life[edit]

Stevenson's mother is Samantha Stevenson, a noted sports journalist. Her father is basketball legend Julius Erving. Stevenson met her father for the first time in October 2008 after she initiated a meeting. The meeting was documented by ESPN.com's "Reaching Out". Stevenson keeps up with her father between tournaments. Stevenson is taking acting and singing classes in Hollywood during her off weeks from her full-time return to the WTA Tour. Stevenson graduated from the University of Colorado on December 15, 2007, with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts, Sociology. She graduated on the Dean's List and is the only Final 8 member to have graduated from college while playing professional tennis. Stevenson was inducted into the La Jolla Country Day School Hall of Fame on December 4, 2009 - joining fellow Torrey, Rashaan Salaam, the 1994 Heisman Trophy winner.[2]

Alexandra Stevenson
Medal record
Pan American Games
Bronze Winnipeg 1999 Women's Singles

Singles performance timeline[edit]

Current through the French Open in Paris, France, which ended on June 8, 2008.

Tournament 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 Career
Grand Slam Tournaments
Australian Open A A A A 1R 2R 1R 2R 1R A A A A 0 / 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 0 / 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
WTA 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

A = did not participate in the tournament.

SR = the ratio of the number of singles tournaments won to the number of those tournaments played.

_ = 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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stevenson, Alexandra (September 23, 2001). "Perspective; A Player Will Always Remember the Driver of Car 61". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-04-15. 
  2. ^ Reaching Out. ESPN.com

External links[edit]