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U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens is set to defend her title in New York—and defy her critics

YOUTH TENNIS CLINICS, LIKE THE ONE REIGNING U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens is holding for some two dozen children in Washington, D.C., on this stifling summer afternoon, tend to be lighthearted affairs known in the trade as a hit and giggle. Pro player lobs a few shots to the kiddies, waves to the cameras, signs some autographs. Sponsor gets exposure, star gives back, kids pick up some tips—everyone goes home happy.

Stephens, however, doesn’t like such “foo-foo”—her words—affairs. “Hustle!” she yells at a group of 11-year-olds not moving fast enough for her liking. “Come on, pay attention!” she barks when eyes wander. “Hey, hey, hey,” Stephens says when some kids balk at her command to run sprints on the indoor courts. “You guys are going to have an attitude when

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