The Real Deal at the Australian Open

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Sloane Stephens is the real deal and that's great news for U.S. tennis. She is a star in the making and has the power, speed and temperament to be a truly exceptional player for many years ahead. As of this writing, she is getting ready to face Serena Williams in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. I don't expect a miracle here, but she's had a great run.

Jamie Hampton has game too. Unfortunately, she overextends her left leg forward and lands on her heel, sending shock waves up her back on every serve. If healthy, she could have a bright future.

While we are on the subject of "real," it strikes me as odd that Rafa Nadal pulled out of this Grand Slam almost a month in advance due to "a stomach virus." Most people I know don't call into work sick a month in advance due to a bellyache.