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August 12, 2017

Sloane Stephens

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

C. WOZNIACKI/S. Stephens

6-2, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What do you think made the difference in the end?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I don't know. I think she played a good match. I played a good match. Obviously, when you get deep into a tournament, it's just kind of -- it's not a matter of a lot of different -- it's just getting out there and playing and competing.

And I did the best I could today and, unfortunately, I came up a little bit short. But super proud of my week and just glad to be competing at a high level again.

Q. What do you take from this week in Toronto? Does it kind of remind you of what you can do at your best level?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, definitely. Having not played, it obviously gives me a lot of confidence going in for the rest of the season playing. So I'm happy with that.

I can't really -- you know, I didn't really have high expectations when I started playing again. So for this to be my third tournament back and playing like this, I mean, I really couldn't ask for anything more. So I'm super happy with that.

And hopefully will just be able to keep building and have some more good results.

Q. I love your T-Shirt. What's the writing on it by the way?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Oh, "Not Basic." Yeah, I always say that.

Q. Is that a philosophy on life?
SLOANE STEPHENS: It's a thing. It's like a young people thing.

Q. Okay. On the tennis front, a good run here. You say your expectations were fairly low here, and I think you have surprised some people. There's a lot of positives that you can take out of this tournament, and I'm wondering if some of the parts you want to clean up in the game, do you have -- by the time the US Open comes, do you think you have time to clean up some parts of the game that you want to clean up?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, sure. Obviously, like I said, my expectations were low. I was just happy to be on the court and competing again. And having a great result like this is, I mean, it's not a bad thing at all.

I just have to keep building on it and just -- I mean, winning matches is never bad. So if I don't get to work on all the things I want to work on, if I'm winning, I can't really complain.

So just kind of have to play every week and hope for good results and work on things as they come.

Q. Now that you've had this good result, what is the next step? What's the next thing that you feel you need to work on to keep elevating your game?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Why are you guys worried about what I'm working on? I'm just happy to be on the court again.

I don't know. So many things. I have to talk to my coach. Honestly, I haven't even thought about it. I haven't even gotten that far.

The only thing I've honestly been thinking about the last couple months is just being on the court and playing again and competing.

And, like I said, I didn't think I would have good results like this and beat good players this soon. Because I thought it would take me a lot longer to work my way into playing top players again.

Like here, I didn't have an easy draw at all even from the first round. It was a tough draw all the way through.

So I'm just happy to be on the court again.

Q. Speaking of matches, Caroline has played and won so many matches this year. How close did you feel to her level, particularly in the second set when you were able to get the break back and push her a little bit?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, it actually felt good. I know obviously she's playing some good tennis. She's made a whole bunch of finals this year. She's been playing really well.

And to be able to compete with someone like that who's been playing, and I haven't played in however many months, it's been a really long time. So for me that's a good stepping stone.

I didn't win, but I think this whole week was a very big personal victory. So I didn't win the tournament, but in my eyes I did.

Q. Caroline said she was impressed with your ground strokes, your forehand was really coming in strong. And I noticed in the second set you seemed to be bumping up the velocity. Was there anger behind some of those shots or how were you feeling in the second set? It looked like you were putting more into the forehands.
SLOANE STEPHENS: No, I just was like, might as well hit my shots. I wasn't playing the best. It was a little windy. Conditions were tough.

But I was like, if I'm going to lose, I'm just going to go out hitting all of my shots and going for it. And I think that's probably where a little more of the speed came from.

Q. With Serena not playing tennis until 2018, if not longer, is this an opportunity for people like you and Madison Keys to maybe become the No. 1 ranked American woman tennis player in the United States?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Sure. Anything is possible. We play sports. So I mean -- well, maybe one of us will have a baby. I don't know. (Laughter.)

There's equal opportunity for everyone. So I mean, we'll just see what happens.

Q. So how quickly will you go to Cincinnati from here? Will you spend another day or so in Toronto? What are your plans for the next couple days?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, I haven't really thought about it at all. Yeah, I'm just super excited to get a really great dinner and finally get a crepe and ice cream and everything bad for me tonight. I'm really looking forward to it.

Q. But not in a basic way?
SLOANE STEPHENS: But not in a basic way. It has to be super over the top where you go to the restaurant and order all eight desserts and then just see what happens, see how much you can eat. It's like one of those type of situations.

Q. And like you said, you haven't played in a while. Your fitness level looked really good. Did you feel fatigued at all out there? How would you rate your fitness level at this stage?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I would say pretty good actually. I mean, a lot of people are like, you're not going to be ready. You're not going to be fit enough.

But when you start playing and get matches, it kind of comes back to you. I worked obviously very hard to come back. I had a foot injury, so I couldn't do as much as I wanted to do preparing.

So I think now that I'm playing more matches, like even playing doubles last week, just being on the court more, I think it's really helped me. So I think the more I play, the better shape I'll get in.

And that's pretty much all I can do at this point, because I'll be playing tournaments every week until the end of the season.

Q. We have a Canadian 18-year old in Montreal right now Denis Shapovalov. He's on a big run.

Q. I'm just wondering, can you think back to your first big match win and why it was meaningful for you?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Oh. Not really. But my first? I don't know. Do you know one?

Q. You beat Shahar Pe'er at the US Open.
SLOANE STEPHENS: Oh, my God. I beat Shahar Pe'er at the US Open on grandstand. Yo. You are -- look at you.

Yeah, no. I beat Shahar Pe'er. That was like my biggest match. Like what was it? In front of like a packed grandstand. It was maybe like -- was it second round maybe?

It was, like, second round? Yeah, I think it was second round. And she was seeded at the time. She was, like, 25 in the world. And that was a big match for me, and I played so well.

And obviously doing it at the US Open makes it way more, like, intense and cool. And I think probably the same thing for him.

I actually have a funny story about him. I thought I saw him at a restaurant in Toronto like maybe eight months ago. And I can't even tell you guys.

I was with my boyfriend and a couple of friends, and I had just seen him on TV probably like two days before that playing the Davis Cup. And I was like, man, I really love this kid. He's so good.

And I saw someone that looked identical to him at a restaurant and I was like, oh, man. Like, we got to send him a drink or something. And then I was like, but he's 17 or something. So I was like, maybe not.

So we'll send his parents, like, a bottle of wine. So we did and, yeah, they enjoyed it. They were like, you know, whatever. Everything is cool. Yeah, it must be him because it looks like the mom on TV, you know, all this stuff. And I looked it up and he lives in Toronto. So I was like, okay, this makes sense. It's totally him.

And then I started Googling pictures of him and the hair and stuff. I was like, maybe it's not him. Basically, we ended up sending them vodka and all this stuff.

And then, an hour after the meal, I had someone, like, go into the bathroom with the kid -- well, the person I thought was Denis -- and it wasn't him. And I was so disappointed because I was like, oh, my God. I thought it was him. And everyone was just like, you're an idiot.

But I love him and I'm a huge fan. So, you know, go Canadian tennis.

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