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August 18, 2015

Sloane Stephens


S. STEPHENS/C. Suarez Navarro
6‑1, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. That's a quality win over a tough opponent. Talk about it.
SLOANE STEPHENS: It was good. I played well. Pretty solid. I felt good out there.
I mean, I don't really know what else to say. I looked good. I was happy.

Q. Was winning a title important to you, and does it make you feel any different as a tennis player?
SLOANE STEPHENS: It was important, yes, because now everyone can stop talking about it. (Smiling.) It doesn't really ‑‑I don't feel any different. It's kind of just like it's there when you click on my link. On the ATP app it says one title.

SLOANE STEPHENS: Hello. The WTA app, sorry. But you know when you look at it it says ATP/WTA. Sorry. Yeah, it says one title, but other than that it's kind of like, all right, I did it. Yay. Let's move on.

Q. But obviously you have gone deep in majors. Can you compare and contrast those levels of satisfaction, or was it, Yay, we're moving on?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yay, eh. I don't know.

Q. What makes you feel really satisfied?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I mean, that was definitely satisfying. It was something I really worked hard for. Like definitely something once I got it, it was like, Whew, great, I'm happy. Waited for it for a long time, and then the next day was Monday.
Then I kind of just had to move on. I mean, there is nothing really to hang on to. It's like that day, the title, the trophy, yay. Then it's gone. It will always be there, but...

Q. That's tennis, right?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, exactly. Always like searching and trying to find that next great moment and, like, that was like one Sunday where I had a great moment. Then now I'm like, I need another Sunday. Come on.

Q. Have your grandparents got the trophy yet?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I don't think so. My grandma would have said something. She didn't say anything to me yesterday, so I'm thinking no. I'm hoping they don't break it. It's super heavy. It's big. They will be happy when they get it.

Q. (Indiscernible.)
SLOANE STEPHENS: Put it on the kitchen table and leave it.

Q. You have had some close calls prior to getting the title in Washington. You did get it and you said you have already moved on. At that point in time was there a sense of relief of winning?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, I think it was time. I think everything happens for a reason, obviously. It was nice to get it, and everything just‑‑ I was playing really well, some great tennis. It just happened and it was great.

Q. Do you think there is a level of clarity in terms of like your game plan these days and what you feel like you need to do on the court and what is like the right thing for Sloane Stephens to play or what's comfortable for you?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, definitely. I think so. It took a while. I always knew what I needed to do, to use my strengths, what I needed to do on the court, but I think a big part of that is execution and actually doing it.
Kind of just like playing fearless tennis, getting out there and swinging your racquet like even when you don't think that you should or you're too tight or whatever.
I think for me now I'm just kind of like, You've got to get out there and play. Like, What are you doing? There is matches to be won and people to be beat. I have got to get it going.

Q. Was there like a switch that was flipped or something when that happened, or just positive reinforcement of, Okay, I'm winning matches playing this way, so just keep doing this?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah. I think at the beginning it definitely didn't work. I was like trying to play fearless tennis and it was awful. I mean, I think it's just playing matches, getting confidence. Once you realize, you know, even if you're having a bad day, like you can still fight and you can battle.
Like it might not go your way, but at least you're out there trying. Like, you know.

Q. You mentioned getting that feeling. Was there a point in the year that specifically you really started to feel better and having that confidence on court and the results started coming?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I think ‑‑I don't know. I can't say there was a certain match or certain time. I think just over a period of time I kind of like found ‑‑

Q. Gradual?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah. I just kind of found my way. And even if I lose next round, like if I go out there and I'm just doing the best, absolute best I can do and like executing and trying to play my game, then there is nothing more you can ask for.
Like I think sometimes I kind of thought like, you know, I should win or I should do something or do this or do that. That's not the case. You get out there, you try your best, and that's it.
Like you win or lose.

Q. Is your service something you have been working on?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Nine aces today. Boom. (Laughter.)
Yeah, sorry. Go ahead.

Q. Talk about your serve. You have a bigger serve. It's becoming a weapon. You really go for it on the first serve, definitely.
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, something ‑‑I'm working on a lot of things, but that is definitely one thing that I have tried my best to improve on. It's coming around, so that's good.

Q. A lot more players are using headphones on the court now, men and women both, the big, whatever. Have you ever thought about doing that?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I mean, I think I wear my headphones on court a lot, but I don't wear big ones. I'm cool with my iPhone headphones or my little Beats.

Q. Why do you like doing that?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I think like when I warm up like I'm already wearing my headphones. It's just like a normal like getting ready to go on the court like I already have my headphones in type of thing.

Q. A lot of people used to do that and then took them off before walking on. Do you have thoughts why you take them off after you're already on court?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Time change. More swag. Who knows? I don't have any idea.

Q. Couple years ago when you went into NewYork you talked about the onslaught and the people and the chaos. Is that still sort of the feeling you bring when you go there, or has that changed?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I think so. Going to NewYork for the rest of my life is going to be crazy. Like I don't think there will be one year that I go to the US Open and, Oh, it's not hectic. Like that would be the year my US Open would suck. Like it would be horrible.
So I think it's good to have all that energy and all that excitement around it, but you definitely gotta learn how to balance it. Just even friends, family, tickets for this person, doing Kids' Day, doing autograph signings, there is so much that comes with it. And being an American player, it's tough.
So I think just finding the right balance and just making sure that you're focused on your tennis most importantly. I think it's the most important thing.

Q. Sounds terrifying.
SLOANE STEPHENS: It does. If you were a normal person it would be horrible. Like it's not like ‑‑you go to a tournament and you're like, you just see the person play. They don't even know I have to do this. They don't even care.
But, I mean, it's definitely difficult, but it's what I love to do, so I kind of wouldn't change it for anything.

Q. Managing that part of the way you succeed, then?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, I think so.

Q. In terms of managing hecticness, does playing New Haven kind of the calm before the storm?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I think so. I always like to play a tournament before a slam, at least try to. New Haven is definitely a super chill tournament. There is not ‑‑there is a lot of people, but it's not as hectic and it's quiet. Like Yale, like around the school is quiet. You're not going to basketball games or doing all kinds of crazy stuff.
It's a great tournament. It's run well. They definitely do a great job of keeping it chill.

Q. (Question regarding sponsors.)
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah. Yeah. I'm not going to say anything on that because I might get in trouble.

Q. What's it feel like to be on a campus like that?
SLOANE STEPHENS: It's cool. I wanted to take my brother. He's a senior in high school this year so I wanted to take him there, but he didn't want to go. (Laughter.)
But I'm going to force him. In my offseason I'm going to take him to a couple of schools, and I think I might take him there.

Q. He's going to be a senior this year?
SLOANE STEPHENS: This coming year. He plays baseball. He's sending out all his letters, and obviously my mom has an idea where she wants him to go and I have my idea where I want him to go.
It's like, I will take you on the glamorous trips and like e‑mail my friends to go to those schools and like take you out and stuff, you know.

Q. Where do you want him to go?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I don't know. Just anywhere, any cool school. I can't tell you. I'm going to be in trouble. My mom is going to find out my list and I can't do that. I can't afford to do that.

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