Seeing the forests for the trees is so often better than not.

At the least, you get to view the larger picture in greater detail instead of focusing on what’s right in front of you without understanding it’s meaning in totality.

It’s as though that meaning is hiding in plain sight.

How often do we go through life and so much that is beautiful and important is right in front of us, in our daily lives, yet we don’t remotely see it.

As it often does, the world of film speaks to this subject well.

Hide in Plain Sight is a 1980 American drama film directed by and starring James Caan with storyline based on an actual case from the files of New York attorney Salvatore R. Martoche who represented the real life Buffalo, New York, victim’s suit to recover contact with his children estranged by the culpability of the new husband and government.

The story is about a man (Caan) who discovers that his ex-wife has disappeared along with their children. It seems that her new boyfriend works for some criminals. After being arrested, the government offers to let him enter the newly developed Witness Protection Program in exchange for testifying against his employers.

As it turns out for the father, in his intense search for what was lost, all along they were hiding in plain sight.

Sloane Stephens is the champion of the 2017 United States Open tennis tournament.

Madison Keys (left) Sloan Stephens (right)

fciwomenswrestling.com femcompetitor.com article, sports illustrated photo credit via Indian Express

Some would say it’s the crown jewel of the professional tennis world.

Before a major tournament like this one, prognosticators like ourselves make an assessment of who we think have the greatest chance of winning it all.

Prior to the event, Femcompetitor Magazine and others wrote a series of articles of who had the best chance to hoist the winner’s trophy including the highly ranked players Venus Williams, Simona Helep, Garbine Muguruza, Karolina Pliskova, Johanna Konta, Angelique Kerber and as the dark horse with an outside chance, the beautiful fresh faced American, Madison Keys.

Due to expecting to her first child, Serena Williams would not participate.

The eventual winner, Sloane Stephens was nowhere on the radar.

It was though she was hiding in plain sight.

Ms. Stephens is an American tennis player who has won five WTA singles titles, including her first major at the 2017 US Open. With the victory, she became the lowest ranked player (83rd) to ever win the women’s singles title and the first American woman outside the Williams sisters to win a Slam since Jennifer Capriati in 2002.

Sloane also reached the semifinals of the 2013 Australian Open, defeating Serena Williams in the quarterfinals and won her first title at the 2015 Citi Open.

She holds a career-high singles ranking of world No. 11 and is currently ranked world No. 17 as of September 11, 2017.

Our champion started playing tennis at the age of nine, at the Sierra Sport and Racquet Club, in Fresno, California.

Two years later Sloane relocated from Fresno to Boca Raton, Florida, where she began training at the prestigious Chris Evert Tennis Academy.

If only we had been watching a little more closely.

Someone was watching closely back in April of 2013 and it is eerily telling what the former Sports Illustrated Reporter and Bleacher Report writer Merlisa Lawrence Corbett wrote.

She first makes a comparison to the now retired but once promising young American star Melanie Oudin.

Melanie Oudin is a former American tennis player and former world junior No. 2.

As a 17-year-old in the middle of 2009, Melanie reached the round of 16 of the Wimbledon Championships, followed by a quarterfinal at the US Open six weeks later.

Unfortunately due to injuries and a severe heart condition described at tennis.com as arrhythmia where her heart would sometimes accelerate out of control for hours at a time, draining the blood from her head and leaving her on the verge of passing out, Melanie retired on August 18, 2017.

Melanie was a fascinating case study in the sense that as we watched her incredible play in 2009 at the Open, there was a feeling that she would be a star with staying power.

Then, just like that, she was gone from sight.

Which brings us back to the Bleacher Report writer Merlisa Corbett who wondered if Sloane would be a one hit wonder too.

She reported, “After Sloane Stephens upset Serena Williams at the 2013 Australian Open, many anointed Stephens the “next big thing.”

Not only had she dispatched one of the greatest tennis players of all times, but she was also the highest-ranked teenager and the No. 2-ranked American on the WTA tour. Stephens was just 19 at the time.”

But as Sloane struggled and her rankings declined many wondered if she had flamed out.

Ms. Corbett concluded her 2013 article by stating, “Could Stephens slip to Oudin status? A year from now, will we be asking, “Whatever happened to Sloane Stephens?”

Good question.

In our circle, from time to time we would hear of Sloane’s name, in particular during future US Opens, but she never really seemed to make a move.

So in 2017 when she began to make some early noise at the Open, we wondered, can she really make a deep run?

fciwomenswrestling.com femcompetitor.com article, By si.robi – Stephens wikimedia

Once she reached the semi-finals where she would face the formidable and seemingly eternal champion Venus Williams, few gave her a chance but she pulled off a stunning and dramatic three set victory.

To answer the question of what she was capable of, had most of us done our homework on Sloane, the answer would have been exceptional things, based upon her royal bloodlines.

Her mother Ms. Sybil Smith in 1988, a swimmer at Boston University, was a First Team All-American.

Her father, Mr. John Stephens was a professional American football player who played in six NFL seasons from 1988 to 1993 for the Patriots, the Green Bay Packers, and the Kansas City Chiefs. As a rookie for the Patriots during the 1988 NFL season, Stephens rushed for 1,168 yards and was selected to his one and only Pro Bowl.

Unfortunately her father was killed in a car accident on September 1, 2009, just before the start of the US Open.

So now we know what Sloane is capable of, including her warm and inviting personality, which was on display after the 2017 US Open final when after defeating fellow American Madison Keys, the two beautiful girls hugged for what seemed like an eternity in the BFF hug that was felt around the tennis world as Sloane consoled a tearful Madison.

fciwomenswrestling.com femcompetitor.com article, photo via NY Daily News

It was a very moving moment.

So there was a new very beautiful, classy and impressive champion crowned at the 2017 United States Tennis Open.

Many were surprised.

Some shocked.

Collectively we shouldn’t have been.

She had been hiding in plain sight all along.

fciwomenswrestling.com femcompetitor.com article, photo via Connecticut Open

~ ~ ~

OPENING PHOTO fciwomenswrestling.com femcompetitor.com article, sports illustrated photo credit 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sloane_Stephens

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Stephens_(American_football)

http://www.espn.com/nfl/news/story?id=4441568

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/06/sports/tennis/sloane-stephens-venus-williams-us-open.html

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sold-language/201101/subliminal-seduction-gets-second-glance

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilson_Bryan_Key

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080868/plotsummary?ref_=tt_ov_pl

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hide_in_Plain_Sight

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1591095-sloane-stephens-is-not-wtas-next-melanie-oudin-or-is-she

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melanie_Oudin

http://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2015/08/i-dont-know-whats-happening-me-melanie-oudins-all-consuming-battle/56005/