ROME — Sloane Stephens said Tuesday that she never expected her controversial comments about Serena Williams to be printed.
In the May 13 issue of ESPN The Magazine, Stephens questioned Williams’ authenticity and dispelled the idea that the two were close. But Stephens, 20, said she was under the impression that she was speaking off the record to author Marin Cogan.
“We were eating pizza!” Stephens said, emphasizing that the casual context of her meeting with the reporter made her believe that the late-March interview in Florida had yet to begin. “I understood the fact that those things weren’t going to be written in the article and I was just saying whatever. The person who wrote it just kind of took that and ran with it. That’s what they’re going to do.
“I’m really disappointed in the lady who wrote it,” Stephens said after defeating Flavia Pennetta 6-3, 6-3 in the first round of the Italian Open. “It wasn’t a good reflection and it’s not what I meant. That’s why I had to talk to Serena about it because it was not good at all.”