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Sloane Stephens on Feeling Confident in a Bikini, Finding a New Respect for Models

Sloane Stephens on modeling: "Trying to maintain your composure with waves and sand flowing was wild. I have so much respect for all of the models of the world."

Sloane Stephens is officially an Sports Illustrated Swimsuit athlete! The 2017 U.S. Open winner makes her first SI Swimsuit appearance this year, and we couldn't be happier to welcome her into the family. We caught up with Sloane to get her take on shooting for SI Swimsuit, learning to be comfortable in a swimsuit, and which male tennis player she'd like to see pose for the magazine.  

On posing for SI Swimsuit: "I’ve always loved the beauty of the SI Swimsuit issue and thought it would be incredible to one day be a part of it. I honestly never thought I’d have the opportunity. When the opportunity was presented, I immediately said yes because I felt really honored to be a part of it."

On expectations before the shoot: "I really had no expectations before the shoot. I was nervous and excited beforehand, but once I saw the vision for the issue, I became more relaxed. It was definitely better than I expected!"

On her perception of models: "The most challenging shots were shots posing with the waves splashing on you. Trying to maintain your composure with waves and sand flowing was wild. I have so much respect for all of the models of the world. Modeling is fun but extremely challenging work."

On getting comfortable in a swimsuit: "Although I spend most of my time in training gear, I grew up near the ocean so I was pretty comfortable in a bathing suit. I had a little apprehension because the swimsuits were so tiny!"

On which male tennis players she'd most like to see post in a swimsuit: "I think I’d have to ask my WTA friends their opinion on this."

On her reaction to seeing her face on the cover of Sports Illustrated: "Being on the cover of SI was an incredible honor! I was so shocked to discover I’d be on the cover. Thank you, SI!"

On her expected reaction from family, friends and her fanbase: "I hope my family, friends and fans to enjoy the photos. I’m not quite sure what I expect the reaction to be but I’m hoping they see it as a fun, beautiful expression of myself."

See all of Sloane's gorgeous SI Swimsuit 2018 photos: