When Sloane Stephens won the U.S. Open women’s tennis championship this past weekend she gave a big thanks to her coach--and that coach just happens to call Chicago home.
“To see just the joy and shock in her eyes was great for me," coach Kamau Murray said. "Help this kid to achieve her dream.”
Murray had been in the stands in New York, when Stephens beat Rock Island-native Madison Keys to win her first grand slam tournament.
Both walked away with separate trophies and some nice prize money.
But Murray also walked away with the distinction of being just one of two black coaches to ever to win a grand slam.
“Very few people look like me who are coaching at that level, so very proud to be besides Richard Williams the only other person to win a grand slam title,” Murray said.
Murray started coaching Stephens back in 2015, and the duo won some smaller tournaments.
But during Wimbledon of last year, Stephens suffered an injury that sidelined her.
Stephens came to Chicago where she helped teach some of Murray's other students--and then Murray worked hard to coach Stephens back to full strength.
“I think that sort of day-to-day one foot in front of the other approach has sort of help her get through the rehab process and sort of help me coach her within the moment,” Murray said.
This year will continue to be a good one for Murray. Besides the US Open win, he is looking open up a multi-million dollar facility on the South Side.
“It is a busy 2017 but I’ve got a lot of help," he said.
As Murray gets ready to open up X-S Tennis, he says he will continue to coach Stephens in hopes of giving her another grand slam win.
“She was open, extremely coachable and I think that is why she was holding the trophy on Saturday," Murray said. "She made magic and I helped her.”