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September 1, 2017

Sloane Stephens

New York, NY, USA


6-1, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How does it feel to be back in the second week of the US Open?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Oh, good. Obviously I haven't been in the second week of a slam in a long time. It's nice. Excited to be here. Especially at a home slam. I mean, nothing really better.

Q. What did you make of the match today? What were you most happy with?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I thought I played all around pretty solid. I mean, obviously Ash is a great player. She's tricky to play because she does a lot of different things. I was happy that through everything that she kind of gave to me, I was able to just stay consistent and play my game.

Q. You said you were a fan of hers. What do you like so much about her?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I just love her personality. I love her as a person. Super sweet girl every time I've seen her. I think it was Australia 2016 I saw her. That was the first time I'd seen her in a year and a half, two years. I was so excited to see her hitting balls again, back playing tennis.

I think she's a great player. I think this is where she belongs. She's just a great player to have on tour.

Q. Are you beyond the point of being in the second week of a slam, not on a comeback? You're back now, playing your career the way you want to?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I mean, I don't know. After like the first week, I was, like, I don't know if this is a comeback. I played five matches in a row, then the next week played another four matches or something, then here.

So I don't know if it's really a comeback any more. I'll go with it if I sounds better (smiling).

Q. Exciting news today with Serena Williams giving birth. Any buzz, fun things happening in the locker room?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Well, I was playing a match, then I was eating and playing another match, so I missed all of the good stuff. I would say bringing a child into this world is probably the biggest blessing. I am very happy for her. I cannot wait to see...

It's a girl, right?

Q. Yes.
SLOANE STEPHENS: ...the little baby girl on tour because I am sure she will be around.

Q. Is that something you'd like to do someday?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Have kids? It's getting a little personal, don't you think? But, yes, I do love kids. I one day cannot wait to have my own.

Q. How do you rate the performance of Americans in the tournament so far? Do you feel like Americans are making a real stand this year, coming together?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, I think everyone's doing well. I mean, every tournament, you support all the Americans. That's that. I think everyone's doing great.

Q. You felt like the fan support has been the same as usual here?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I think maybe for me, because no one's seen me in like 10 months, they're maybe a little more excited to see me. Other than that, it's been good through all the summer series and here. It's been great for me.

Q. Were you at any point worried with the amount of matches that you've had that your body is holding up? How are you feeling physically right now? A lot of matches in a short time.
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, I feel good. I've been taking care of myself well. I think it was a good decision not to play last week. I think that's kind of helped me.

Yeah, so far I'm still sticking together, so I can't really ask for much more.

Q. The players box is kind of a big deal at the US Open. They have 15 seats on Arthur Ashe. You've played on Ashe before. How do you decide who sits there? What goes into the thought process?
SLOANE STEPHENS: You can ask the guy in the blue shirt. He kind of makes all the decisions. I don't know. He decides who can and cannot sit there.

Like obviously my coach is there, my hitting partner, whoever I normally have with me that would be with me wherever. Anyone else, I guess it's just a free-for-all.

I mean, my mother, then any other family members that come. I honestly put no thought into that whatsoever.

Q. Do you use the salons at slams when you're playing?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I've never once to this day used a salon at a slam.

Q. Do you think it's weird that they have one?
SLOANE STEPHENS: No. First of all, Gavrilova got her hair cut today, super short. I don't know if anyone saw that, but she looks good.

It's always, like, random. Someone will get their hair colored. You're like, Okay, more highlights, all right.

But, I mean, yeah, I think if you can utilize it, find the time to do it, it's great. I mean, sometimes, like I've played every day, kind of busy, I don't have the time to do it. I'd say if you do have the time, it's a great perk.

Q. When you were off, what was the toughest point, the roughest time? What do you think you most learned from your time off?
SLOANE STEPHENS: My worst time? When I was walking around on that peg leg thing. I couldn't do anything. I was, like, that was probably the worst time.

Didn't we talk about this in Cincinnati? I don't know, we've talked about a lot of stuff. Yeah, that was probably the lowest time.

Then when I've learned? I don't know, just enjoy the game more. Obviously when something gets taken away from you, you kind of are forced to deal with your situation. I think having surgery, being on that peg leg, not being able to live my life the way I wanted to, I don't know if it was like a humbling experience, but it was more of just like - how do you say that - realization? Pronunciation was not good on that, sorry.

I just needed to just appreciate all the things I had in my life. Even though everything was kind of going not the direction that I wanted to, but I knew that one day I probably would not be in the fourth round of the US Open, but I'd be playing tennis again, things would be going good and looking up. I kind of held that in front of me and hoped one day I would be back to where I wanted to be. That's kind of what kept me going.

Q. Do you sense in yourself that your attitude is different than before?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, I think before I was, like, so emotional. Everything, like, always got to me. I think now I'm just, like, my life is good, everything's good. Like I play a sport for a living. I don't, like, operate on people. I don't -- like, this is not life or death. I think it's hard to realize that when you're out there playing, because there's a lot riding on it: prize money, points, so many things go into it.

Now I'm kind of, like, I do this for fun. I love tennis. There's not a lot of people that can say, like, Oh, yeah, I go and play tennis every day, and sweat, see all my friends, hang out, work out, and take pictures. That's it, right?

I think I have it pretty good. I think once I realized that, I was, like, Life is actually really very good. I think that's where I'm at now.

Q. Your next round, I know you don't look ahead, you're playing Goerges next. How do you assess that matchup?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Every time I played her, we've had tough matches. The last two times I played her, I played her on a day where I played two matches in the same day. I'm looking forward to her being my first match of the day (smiling).

Yeah, that's pretty much it. I think it will be a good match. We always play well against each other, so looking forward to it.

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