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March 26, 2018

Sloane Stephens

Miami, Florida

S. STEPHENS/G. Muguruza

6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You mentioned living life to the fullest. Have you found that is detrimental to playing good tennis?
SLOANE STEPHENS: No. Just gotta find the right balance.

Q. Is that what's been going on the last, I guess, couple of months, three months for you?
SLOANE STEPHENS: No. I didn't play tennis for 11 months, and then I decided to go ahead and win the US Open not in the best shape, not in the greatest form, and I really wanted to play the end of the season and probably wasn't the right decision.

I made some decisions based on where my heart was, not where my body was physically. I think that was kind of like a domino effect.

After Australia I just took the time to really get myself together. I mean, when you put in the work, you are able to get some results, so that's kind of what I just go with.

Q. Do you feel like after the US Open when you win a Grand Slam there are so many demands on your time, I'm sure things that were not the case before, all kinds of probably interview requests and sponsor things and all that? How did you handle all that? And do you think that you maybe learned how to say no a little better or did you say yes too much? Do you think you spent too much time on off-court things or no?
SLOANE STEPHENS: No, I think I handled it great. I did everything that I wanted to do. I said no to the things I didn't want to do. I made sure that everything was on my terms.

Like I said before, I don't think it had anything to do with the off-court things. I think it was more that my heart, I wanted to play tennis but my body physically was not where it needed to be.

Q. Given the lack of court time and match play this year, how big is this win, beating a top player with the season moving forward?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, obviously it's a great win. But, I mean, it's matches like the one before when I played Niculescu where you've got to really battle and fight and play someone who is not going to just play you up and down and you've got to do a lot just to stay in the points, I think those matches give you confidence to beat a player like this because you have to do a lot of work just to stay in the match.

I thought I did an excellent job the other night just kind of staying in there. I lost the first set and I could have easily got down on myself and kind of just gave it away, but I was pleased that I was able to fight.

Obviously, like you said, I haven't played that many matches this year, so being able to stay in matches and fight like that I think is a good step in the right direction.

Q. We can say the main reason of your comeback is physical work you did before Acapulco, for instance?
SLOANE STEPHENS: For my comeback? What do you mean?

Q. Comeback, winning matches.
SLOANE STEPHENS: Well, I only lost, like, four matches the end of last year. I wouldn't say that was another comeback.

Q. Let's find another word than "comeback." Did you do a lot of physical work? You talk about your body was not ready to play. I'm just asking if it was something to do with your physical form.
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, I just made sure I was 100%, ready to play.

Q. You touched on it on the court. To be able to do this at this tournament, Miami, being from South Florida, how much does it mean to be in the quarters, especially considering this is the last time here on Key Biscayne?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, like I said before, I grew up playing tennis here, like, when I was 12 or 13. The USTA used to be here, so we used to come down here and practice and stuff.

I'm kind of sad that it's leaving here. I grew up playing here, and I have been here so many times for -- we played, like, Orange Bowl here and everything. I'm definitely going to miss it. But just the fact that the tournament is in South Florida and all my family and friends and everyone can come and support, it's incredibly special, but any American tournament is like that, anywhere you go that you have friends and family and everything. So it's super special to do it here.

Q. The guy in the stands that you singled out, do you know who that is?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I have no idea who that is. Just a fan.

Q. Does that kind of thing help?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah. I mean, it's entertaining.

Q. A source of amusement?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, it's entertaining. Obviously he knows tennis. He's shouting all the right things (smiling).

Yeah, I mean, it's helpful, and, you know, it's always nice to have someone backing you like that.

Q. He's like a free coach?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, pretty much. Whatever my coach can't say, he can blurt it out and won't get in trouble.

Q. How many years has he been here?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I don't know. The day before yesterday was the first time I had ever seen him.

Q. What will you miss most about Key Biscayne and this venue?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Oh, what I'll miss most? Oh, I'll miss Sir Pizza. That's my favorite place to go, Sir Pizza. It's on Key Biscayne.

I have been going there since I was, like, 12, since the USTA was here. The same people work there. It's sum such a gem, the best pizza. I'm really going to miss it, because there will be no reason to come down to Key Biscayne anymore, so I have to make a special trip. But I'm definitely going to miss that place.

Q. You're on the verge of cracking the top 10. How big of a personal milestone is that?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Well, I will be happy, because I'm tired of people saying "and her career high ranking is 11 in the world."

Yeah, hopefully one of these days, sometime soon, I'll be able to break it. But, I mean, it will be a good step. That one spot will really determine a lot of things.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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