The U.S. Open is slated to begin on August 31, and during this year’s tournament, Sloane Stephens’ play will go toward helping raise money for young athletes.
For every ace completed by the tennis champion and other players at the open, Mercedes-Benz will donate $50 to the United States Tennis Association’s “Rally to Rebuild” initiative. They vehicle company is calling the program the “Ace the U.S. Open.”
The final donation will be equally distributed to three National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) chapters supported by the USTA Foundation: the Sloane Stephens Foundation chapter, a local Atlanta NJTL chapter, and an NJTL chapter in the Northeast.
"I think it's a really cool opportunity since the U.S. Open is very different this year," Stephens said of the program to PEOPLE. "This is something that we can all get behind and it's for a good cause. And it's something we're all super passionate about — helping junior tennis and NJTL chapters and with the USTA. I'm super excited to be a part of it."
Stephens' organization focuses on supporting after-school tutoring, education, the adoption of healthy lifestyles, and improved physical fitness for young people.
"Tennis has given me an amazing opportunity in life, so many opportunities to travel the world and meet people," she says. "I think we should all be giving back to junior tennis and people who are looking to play the game. To those who don't want to because they think tennis is too expensive, or think you need a coach or whatever it is."
As far as this year’s U.S. Open goes, Stephens says she’s excited but hopes everything goes smoothly regarding safety due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"I'm a super germaphobe, so I'm worried about not getting anyone sick or me not getting sick," she says. "I'm just really paranoid. Sometimes I think more about, am I doing the right thing? Do I need to change my mask? Do I need to wash it? I like to take precautions. And so I think sometimes I am a little bit over the top with just trying to be aware of my surroundings."