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June 29, 2015

Sloane Stephens


S. STEPHENS/B. Strycova
6‑4, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  So what does that mean to you?  Good player?  Good win for you?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, it was a good win.  Obviously to beat a seeded player in the first round is obviously a good thing, to play on Centre Court.  My first time playing there.  I think it was good.  Overall a good day for me.

Q.  What are your thoughts for you for the challenge for Serena who is going for this unbelievable calendar Grand Slam and the way you've seen her play during this recent run?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, I mean, obviously there is going to be obstacles, but I'm sure‑‑ you know, she's one of the best players to ever play.  She will get through it just fine.
I'm looking forward to seeing her break more records.

Q.  What does it mean to you to be able to watch her at this age the way she's playing now?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  It's awesome, great for women's tennis, and it's great to see someone playing so well.

Q.  I didn't realize it was your first time out there.  Talk about what that means to a tennis player, your feeling, what you noticed.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Like I said to my coach, I have never seen the inside of Centre Court except on TV.  It was a big moment, and, you know, I'm thankful for the opportunity.  It was really fun.
Hopefully looking forward to hopefully getting out there again.

Q.  Lleyton said, 20 years, looked around, a day where he went out by himself with headphones on and sat in there for a while yesterday.  Had you not been out there just to look, hang out?

Q.  Why have you never taken the chance to go in there?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I don't know.  I just ‑‑I'm not sure.  I played on Court 1, I have been here plenty of times.  I just, for some reason, just never got out there.

Q.  Did any images of matches you have seen on Centre Court float through your mind as you're out there yourself?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, I mean, obviously I was thinking about what I was trying to do.  I was playing a tough opponent and tough player.  I was trying to focus on me mostly.

Q.  How would you describe the state of your game right now?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  It's good.  I'm playing well.  I'm happy with my team, the things that are happening for me.  So, I mean, I have no complaints at all.

Q.  What would you say you've learned that's most important to your game right now from your earlier experiences?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I mean, just have a lot of patience.  There's going to be ups and downs.  You've got to go through things to build, and you've got to grow.
So I think, for me, mostly just being patient with myself, my team, and just everyone around me I think is helping a lot.

Q.  Is that something that was difficult for you at earlier times that you've made an adjustment, or is that something that's always been a strength for you?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I think just it's a part of growing up.  You've kind of gotta learn how to be more professional, be patient, learn how to respect the game, respect your sport.  I think it's just growing as a person and as a player.

Q.  How different is it playing on Centre Court to one of the lower courts?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I mean, obviously playing at Wimbledon is always special.  So playing on any court is awesome.  Playing on Centre Court is something people dream of.
For me, it was a great opportunity and it was really fun.  Whether I play on Court 85 or on Centre, it's still going to be special.

Q.  Once the match starts, do you forget about the crowd and all these people?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah.  You've just gotta focus on what you're out there to do.

Q.  July 5th is the 40th anniversary of Arthur Ashe winning here, beating Jimmy Connors in the men's final.  You being as young as you are, what do you know of Arthur Ashe's legacy and what does it mean to you?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I mean, obviously he's shaped the game for us.  I mean, he's a legend.  40 years ago, my mom was like in college.  I mean, she wasn't ‑‑I wasn't even being thought of.
So, I mean, for me, I know when I think of Arthur Ashe, I just think of legend, and that's all I can really give you.

Q.  What sense do you have of sacrifices he made and stances that he took, if any, during his tennis career that went beyond just him playing tennis?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I mean, I know he's done a lot for the sport.  I know he's done a lot in general.  And, I mean, like I said, 40 years ago, I don't have enough information about it, but I just know when I think of Arthur Ashe I think legend.
For me, playing an Arthur Ashe Stadium at the US Open, for me, that's huge.  That's Arthur Ashe.  That's legend.  But that's all I can really give you.

Q.  Do you watch any documentaries or go back and look at old clips of Evert and Navratilova, the old players?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Just kind of like what you see when ESPN is playing very old stuff, but other than that, not really.

Q.  The history of the game, do you ever go back and read about it or look at it much?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I'm more like a Billie Jean King, learning who made the sacrifices for us to have the WTA, we have learned a lot about that.
But people before that, you just think, you know, man, if it wasn't for them, like, we wouldn't be here.  Arthur Ashe, if it wasn't for him, we probably wouldn't be here.  You've got to think about it in that way.

Q.  Do you watch tennis in general away from the courts and the tournaments?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Um, yeah, it just kind of depends on what I'm doing.  Hopefully I'm not out of the tournament early and watching.  But I like to watch, yeah, around, just home, hanging out.

Q.  Billie Jean King once said that in her achievements she was thinking about her soul, and her personality was a great match with the time when she was playing tennis.  Do you think that your personality and your soul is a great match with the time that you play tennis?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Um, that's kind of deep for me (laughter).

Q.  Thinking of your personality and the way that tennis has changed throughout the time, you think that the way you play tennis now, today, fits with what tennis is played like today?

Q.  The way you are as a player?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Tennis is kind of like a power game.  It's athletic.  It's fast.  It's, you know, entertainment.  So I guess that could be me (smiling).
I don't know.  I really ‑‑that's too deep for a press conference question.

Q.  Speaking earlier about Serena and the Grand Slam, I was just wondering, when you see Serena's game and the way she plays, what to you is the greatest strength that she brings onto the court that makes her the dominant player that she is?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  She's a great competitor.  I mean, she gets out there and fights for every ball, and that's all you can ask for.  That's probably why she's one of the greatest players to ever play.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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