In a thoroughly random twist of the tennis tale, American Sloane Stephens is a big fan of this week’s breakout star, Canadian Denis Shapovalov.
And after she bowed out to Caroline Wozniacki in the Rogers Cup semifinals Saturday, she told this story, which took place last winter.
” I thought I saw him at a restaurant in Toronto like maybe eight months ago. And I can’t even tell you guys.
“I was with my boyfriend (Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore) and a couple of friends, and I had just seen him on TV probably like two days before that playing the Davis Cup. And I was like, ‘Man, I really love this kid. He’s so good.’
“And I saw someone that looked identical to him at a restaurant and I was like, ‘Oh, man. Like, we got to send him a drink or something. And then I was like, ‘but he’s 17 or something.’ So I was like, maybe not.
“So we’ll send his parents, like, a bottle of wine. So we did and, yeah, they enjoyed it. They were like, you know, whatever. Everything is cool. Yeah, it must be him because it looks like the mom on TV, you know, all this stuff. And I looked it up and he lives in Toronto. So I was like, okay, this makes sense. It’s totally him.
“And then I started Googling pictures of him and the hair and stuff. I was like, ‘Maybe it’s not him.’ Basically, we ended up sending them vodka and all this stuff.”And then, an hour after the meal, I had someone, like, go into the bathroom with the kid – well, the person I thought was Denis – and it wasn’t him. And I was so disappointed because I was like, ‘Oh, my God. I thought it was him.’ And everyone was just like, ‘You’re an idiot.’
“But I love him and I’m a huge fan. So, you know, go Canadian tennis.”
So, some lucky, random family in Toronto got plied with legal beverages by Sloane Stephens and Jozy Altidore. And they might not even, to this day, even have a clue.
Which takes nothing away from the fact that it was a thoroughly restaurant-quality move by Stephens.