Sloane Stephens hires Rafael Nadal’s former tennis coach

ZAPOPAN, MEXICO - OCTOBER 19: Sloane Stephens of the United States returns a shot to Belinda Bencic of Switzerland on day three of WTA Guadalajara Open Akron 2022, part of the Hologic WTA Tour, at Centro Panamericano de Tenis on October 19, 2022 in Zapopan, Mexico. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Sloane Stephens has a new coach.

The 2017 U.S. Open champion announced on Wednesday that she has brought on Francis Roig to join her team as her personal coach.

“Here’s to a successful journey together, let’s get to work,” Stephens tweeted.

Roig spent the last 17 years as the coach of Rafael Nadal, helping the world No. 2 win 22 Grand Slams. In a statement, he said that he wanted to work for more than one player.

“It’s been a pleasure and honor to work with Rafa and the rest of the team,” Roig said. “We never thought we could get so many results and have such a long career with him but Rafa’s a phenomenon and makes everything look easy.”

Likewise, Nadal called Roig a “great coach” who knows tennis “well.”

“I only have words of gratitude and I wish him all the luck in the world in his new project,” said Nadal.

Stephens made a comeback of sorts in 2022, winning the Abierto Zapopan tournament for her seventh career WTA title and first since 2018. Her best Grand Slam finish came in May at the French Open, where she rode two upset wins to the quarterfinals before falling to fellow American Coco Gauff in straight sets.

The 29-year-old finished the season ranked No. 37 in the world.