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Gasping for greatness

Sloane Stephens is discovering that it is easier to generate hype than to live up to it

Originally Published: March 4, 2014
By Howard Bryant | ESPN The Magazine

A YEAR AGO, the "It" hype machine was anointing its newest member while it was coldly reassessing its most recent inductee.

Sloane Stephens, the best hope for U.S. tennis since the Williams sisters burst onto the scene, was basking in the afterglow of beating an injured Serena in the Australian Open quarterfinals. Stephens lost her semifinal match to Victoria Azarenka, but the hype machine had already been ignited. Her wonderful face, all brightness, innocence and ...

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