Sloane Stephens was ready to help Madison Keys drown her sorrows after beating her close friend to win the US Open title.
The match between the two young Americans will be quickly forgotten, with Stephens handling the occasion significantly better and racing to a 6-3, 6-0 victory in 61 minutes.
But what followed was a tremendous display of sportsmanship from two women who grew up together and have positioned themselves as not just the future but the now of American tennis.
They shared a long embrace at the net and, after Stephens had celebrated with her team in the stands, she returned and sat next to Keys at the side of the court, the pair smiling and laughing.
“I should just retire now,” said Stephens. “I told Maddie I’m never going to top this.
“Maddie’s one of my best friends on tour and I wouldn’t have wanted to play anyone else.
“I told her I wished it could have been a draw. If it was the other way round, I know she would have done the same for me.”
Keys admitted the nerves had got to her and she fought back tears as she said: “Sloane is truly one of my favourite people. To play her was really special. If there’s someone I had to lose to today, I’m glad it’s her.”
Culled from Telegraph