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June 23, 2014

Sloane Stephens


M. KIRILENKO/S. Stephens
6‑2, 7‑6

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  When you saw the draw, did that give you reason for pause because of the quality of player that Maria has been in the past?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, I never look at the draws.  I just heard who I was playing.
Obviously Maria is a great player.¬† She's done well here in the past.¬† I knew it was going to be tricky, but that's like every other Grand Slam first‑round match.
She definitely played well today and it was tough.  But sometimes it's just too good, and today was one of those days.

Q.  Specifically what did she do today to take you out of your game?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  She just played really consistent.  She's a good grass court player, so she knows what she's doing.  Obviously, I mean, she just played pretty solid and she went for all of her shots.
It was a tough day for me.

Q.  You had a pretty impressive run at Grand Slams.  That streak is snapped.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  The streak is broken.  I'm so sorry to all of you who don't have to write about me this week and next week.  I'm so sorry.

Q.  Is there any silver lining you can start to take out of this?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah.  I mean, it's not bad.  I'm sad my streak is broken.
But obviously there's nothing I can do.  It feels like the end of the world now, but fortunately it's not.  So that's a good thing.
You've just got to go back and keep working and obviously get ready‑‑ I'll be in the States for a while, so that's a good thing.¬† Just get ready for the US Open Series, work hard trying to get ready for that.

Q.  Did you feel like you had regained momentum after serving five match points?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I was just thinking I have to fight for every point, really dig in.  That's what was going through my mind at the time.

Q.  What is your approach to adversity?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  You got to deal with it.  It comes in bunches and it's tough, but you got to work through it.  I mean, there's things that you guys don't know about, a lot of things that everyone else doesn't see, but you have to work through it and you have to deal with it.  Sometimes you got to be a big girl and just work through all the things that are troubling you.

Q.  How are you at that?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I'm pretty good.  Getting better every day.

Q.  How was your confidence level coming into Wimbledon?  Was it any different than it was at the French or the Aussie?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, not really.  Just obviously I've been playing pretty well.  I played the two warmup tournaments before, and I thought that was a good thing because I've never done that before.
Like I said, today was just a tough day.  I played a pretty solid player who's done well here before.
It was pretty tough.  I don't take no really terrible things from it.

Q.  What are your hopes or goals for the rest of the year?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Work harder.  Win some more matches.  Have fun.

Q.  What is your next event?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I'm going to play in D.C.

Q.  You have a block here now to regroup, get back to work.  How do you think you're going to approach that?  What are you going to work on?  Is it nice to have that break in the middle of the season?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, I'm excited.  It's tough because there's three slams in the first six months of the year.  That's always tough.  It's nice to get a break.
Unfortunately my break is going to be a little bit longer than normal, but I'm going to have fun.  I haven't thought about what I'm going to do yet, how I'm going to approach things.
I'm definitely just going to try and enjoy myself and have a good time while I can.

Q.  You weren't awake watching the World Cup?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I wasn't.  Someone scored in the last three seconds and it wasn't the U.S. so that's what I do know.

Q.  Have you watched much otherwise?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I watched the first game.  My friend was playing.  He got injured, so it was kinda like, Who cares.

Q.  You talked about adversity.  What's the toughest part of the tour?  Is it in the actual play or other parts of the game that are tough?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  It's everything.  It's like you could get the wrong can of balls and be practicing with them all week, you start the tournament, you're practicing, you're playing with a different ball.  That's something you can freak out over.
There's so many things that happen that you have to just kind of deal with, learn to deal with, how to approach it.
I could name you a whole bunch of things, but you wouldn't have enough time (smiling).

Q.  Does it feel good when you overcome the adversity?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  It does.  But then life throws you something else.  It's good.  It's one thing after another, but it's okay.

Q.  You talked about having fun.  Are you planning on taking some time totally away, vacationing, not being in tennis for a bit?
SLOANE STEPHENS:¬† Maybe.¬† I don't know.¬† I haven't really thought about it like really in depth.¬† Now if I am going to take a vacation, now would be the time.¬† Now I'll think about maybe‑‑ I don't know.¬† I don't even know.¬† I have no idea.

Q.  What were your thoughts about Madison's win the other day?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Awesome.  Really great.  Really happy for her.  And CoCo, too.  That's really awesome.
Just add those two players to the list of players who have won a tournament before me.  But that's okay.  Don't worry.
I'm glad that they won.  It's really awesome.

Q.  Did you feel any pressure from this streak?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, not anything I think about.  You're the only person that ever tweeted about it, so...  All the pressure was from you (laughter).
No, not really.  It was a great accomplishment, a great thing.  I mean, hopefully it will be the last time I lose the first round of a slam, but hopefully I don't have to live through that again.  Maybe in the next slam I'll make the second week again.

Q.  You just referred to CoCo and Madison winning tournaments.  In your estimation, what is the state of that next generation of American players?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I think it's good.  So far we're looking pretty good, I think.  I mean, they just won two big tournaments.  I think that's a great thing.
I don't know what else I can really say about it.

Q.  What are the obstacles to getting to that next level in terms of winning majors for the group of young players that have followed Serena?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  There's a lot of people between my ranking now, 18, and the No.1 player in the world.  There's obviously a lot of people between me and the 128 draw at a Grand Slam.  That's a lot of people you have to get through to win a slam.
That's tough.  It's hard work.  Obviously everyone works hard for that.  Sometimes it doesn't happen.
I think people are working, the girls are working, everyone is working hard, but it's a process.  Everyone has to learn, has to go through all these ups and downs.  Maybe it's just taking a little bit longer for maybe a U.S. person.

Q.  Do you have a handle on what you need to or want to improve to take the next step?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, definitely.  I definitely know what I need to do, what I need to work on.  But, I mean, it takes time.  It's a process.  It doesn't happen overnight.

Q.  Could I get an example or two?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  It's personal (smiling).

Q.¬† Is there part of you that you did so well so fast at the slams that maybe there wasn't enough concentration at the level‑down tournaments?
SLOANE STEPHENS:¬† No.¬† I think the only people that it was important to me doing well the second week of a slam was you guys.¬† It was never‑‑ I'm just going to focus doing well at the Grand Slams.¬† It never happened that way.¬† That's why I never had a real reason for why I had so much success at a Grand Slam.
It just happened that way.  Maybe in the next tournament that I play, I'll win it.  Then I'll be like, Remember when we were talking at Wimbledon.  So we'll see.

Q.  How do you know Jozy?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  We went to middle school together.  I've known him for a very long time.

Q.  Where was that?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  What's it called?  Boca Prep, across from the Evert Academy.  He was two grades older than me.  He was like the cool kid.  It was random.  He ended up going to IMG.  I was practicing there.  I saw him there.  Whatever.
Yeah, he's a good guy.

Q.  Besides a cool kid, how would you describe him now?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Pretty much the same.  Just cool kid.  Nice guy.  I was in fourth grade or third grade.  So it's a long time.

Q.  When you saved all those match points in the game, you go into the breaker, the third set is on your racquet, it felt as the whole thing was about to swing.  Did it seem that way to you?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I wouldn't say I was thinking, Okay, I'm going to get to a third set.  I was just thinking, Okay, play every point like whatever.  I got up in the tiebreaker, and that was good.
I mean, she played some good tennis.¬† There's nothing I could do.¬† I hit a forehand cross‑court and she was standing there waiting to lob it over my head.¬† So that wasn't the greatest play on earth.
I mean, I could tell you a whole bunch of things I could have done differently.  But it was a match.  I played an opponent who played pretty solid.  It was just a rough day for me.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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