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Beyond the Baseline

Serena Williams: I'll always be rooting for Sloane Stephens

Serena Williams Top-ranked Serena Williams is into the third round of the Madrid Open. (Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Serena Williams took the high road Tuesday in responding to Sloane Stephens' scathing comments about her in an ESPN The Magazine story.

"I don't really know. I don't have many thoughts," Williams told reporters in Spain after defeating Lourdes Dominguez Lino 6-2, 7-5 in the second round of the Madrid Open, answering the one question posed to her about Stephens. "I'm a big Sloane Stephens fan and always have been. I've always said that I think she can be the best in the world. I'll always continue to think that and always be rooting for her.

"So I really just always wish her -- and anyone, really, especially from America -- the best. We don't have that many American players, so it's always exciting to see so many young players doing so well."

Sharapova credits Stephens for honesty

Stephens told the magazine that Williams had stopped communicating with her after Stephens' victory in their quarterfinal match at the Australian Open in January.

“Like, seriously! People should know," Stephens said in a late-March interview. "They think she's so friendly and she’s so this and she's so that -- no, that's not reality! You don't unfollow someone on Twitter, delete them off of BlackBerry Messenger. I mean, what for? Why?”

Stephens lost to Daniela Hantuchova in the first round in Madrid.

UPDATE: Stephens tweeted: "Guilty of being naive. Much respect 4 @serenawilliams , a champ & the GOAT. We spoke, we're good. ONWARD! "

WERTHEIM: No one looks good in Stephens-Williams spat

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