As August comes to an end, one of tennis’s biggest events is just beginning: the 141st US Open, marking the fourth and final Grand Slam event of the year. And making an appearance for her ninth year at the Open is American tennis pro and 2017 champion Sloane Stephens.
After a year of empty fan stands and new challenges, Sloane is excited to be back in the game, following up on her 2017 US Open win and first Grand Slam tournament title. And to get herself and her fans in the competitive spirit, she’s even created an exclusive playlist for Spotify featuring positive, upbeat tracks that keep her energized and motivated both on and off the court.
As Sloane takes on her fellow tennis pros, fans can stream her personal pump-up playlist Sloane in the City featuring artists like Ariana Grande, Cardi B, and Rayana Jay. The star athlete curated these songs based on current bops and all-time favorites, using them as her soundtrack during practice, workouts, and the quieter, more nerve-wracking moments of competition.
For the Record caught up with Sloane between sets to ask her about her life as a professional tennis player and the music that keeps her on her A game.
You’re returning to compete in the US Open. How does it feel?
It’s always great to be back in New York! I love playing here, and I really feed off the energy of the city, so it will be great to have the crowd back out here with us.
How do you get in the right mindset before a match?
I like to meet with my coach the night before to discuss the game plan and any specific strategy so that once I wake up on match day, I can lock in. There can be a lot of “hurry up and wait” in tournament schedules depending on the weather or how long the match before mine takes, so it’s important to keep relaxed and be comfortable with changes. Music helps me stay centered and tune out the distractions.
Where does music fit into your daily routine?
I’m always on the go and music is a staple in my routine. When I’m getting ready, training, recovering, or traveling, there is always music playing from my phone. Since I travel all the time for my job and tennis is such a global sport, I’m constantly being introduced to new songs. I think it’s a great way to connect with people and learn about what’s popular in their culture. Even if you don’t speak the language somewhere, everyone can recognize a good song.
Any favorite songs or artists when you’re training?
Ariana Grande. She is my favorite artist, so whenever I’m training, she’s right there with me. My team laughs because I even play her slower songs in the middle of tough workouts, but she always keeps me going. I just love her!
How do you like to wind down from a day of competition?
Sometimes I’ll finish a match and press after midnight, or time zones are playing with me, and I’ll have to find a way to unwind so I can sleep and have a productive next day. Over the years, I’ve discovered how important self-care rituals are to this process, and I created a routine that I can do anywhere in the world. After a nice meal, I’ll take a long shower and drop my essential oils into the steam to create a spa moment. After that, I’ll light a candle and do my skin care routine, which usually includes a face mask. When I’m winding down the vibe is peaceful, and I play artists like Rayana Jay, Samaria, and VanJess.
Talk us through curating this playlist. Any recommendations on how listeners can get the most out of your song choices?
I worked on this playlist for a few weeks and added whatever came to mind at that time. It’s a mix of current hits and artists and songs I’ve always loved. I’m all about positive energy, so whether it’s a song from 30 years ago or yesterday, if the vibe is right, it stays with me. I usually put my playlist on shuffle and let it flow.
Are there any songs on the playlist that have a special meaning?
I have memories with so many of the songs on this playlist, and I’m sure a lot of listeners do, too. Specifically related to the US Open, “Bodak Yellow” by Cardi B takes me back. After I won in 2017, we blasted it on repeat in the car the entire drive back into the city. The song had just come out earlier that summer, and when I hear it now, it brings me back to that specific time and place.
Ready to press shuffle? Listen to Sloane’s positive energy playlist, Sloane in the City, below.