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June 9, 2018

Sloane Stephens

Paris, France

S. HALEP/S. Stephens

3-6, 6-4, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Sorry for the loss today. It was a great first set from you. You commanded the rallies. What changed at 2-Love up? What did Simona do to turn it around?
SLOANE STEPHENS: She raised her game, raised her level. Not much you can really do about that. I competed the best I could, and the better player won the match today.

Q. I guess this is a new experience for you, losing a final. Does it feel any differently than other losses? Can you just tell us how you feel at the moment?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, no, obviously being in a Grand Slam final is very special. It's a great opportunity. Not very many players ever get to a Grand Slam final. So the fact that I have won one and been in another final in such a short period of time, I'm very optimistic and very pleased with myself.

I'm not satisfied, but I am proud of myself.

Q. It almost looked, second set, like 2-1 or so, that you were getting a bit tired or winded. Were you feeling that at all? Nerves? Long rallies?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I'm fine. She just raised her level and started playing better. Sometimes it happens when you play against an opponent.

Q. There were times, particularly in the first set where you played some sublime, unbelievable tennis. Even when the going got tough, you tried to remain positive on court. At the end of the match, you were gracious in defeat and still tried to maintain your positivity, as well. Looking ahead, although you'll have to come to terms with what happened today, how much do you think your positive mental attitude on the court and off the court can help you have success in future Grand Slams?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Well, I think in anything, if you have a good attitude you give yourself an opportunity to have something great happen. And I think it's worked better when I have had a good attitude about whatever it is.

I will just keep going with that, and, you know, hoping for some more good results.

Q. Despite defeat, you go to No. 4 when the rankings are published on Monday. How do you plan to stay there and at that level to stay in the top 10?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I have not thought about that. That's not a priority. It's great that I'm No. 4, but, I mean, the rankings are what they are, and I hope to stay, improve, get better.

It's not something I think about.

Q. A lot of players, including Simona, have spoken about how inspirational it was for them to see you come back from injury and do so well. What do you make of Simona's arc just from her loss here last year, and then Australia and then here? What you do you make of that arc?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I think she's had a tough journey. I think winning here is very special for her and I'm glad she finally got her first slam. It's a beautiful thing, very special.

No matter how hard the adversity that you go through, there is always light at the end of the tunnel, and I'm glad she finally got her light.

Q. You said at the end there is no one you'd rather lose to. Is that what you meant, knowing what she had been through in her career?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah. I mean, obviously I think every person that I play, you know, they play a good match. Something happens, whatever it may be. You never hope anyone loses, never hope that anyone wins.

I just think in playing, her journey has been tough, and she had a heartbreak here last year and in Australia and all the things that have happened to her.

Yeah, I mean, it's a great story and just a great moment for her, and you can only support the other person and be happy for them. Because if it was the other way around, I know that it would be reciprocated.

Q. At the end you said that your team was a large reason that you were able to leave the court despite the result with a smile. I was wondering, what does your team do to make you leave maybe the court with a smile after the end of such a match?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Well, I think just in general they allow me to be myself and they keep me happy. We keep it fun and, you know, we keep it very light.

I think sometimes in very stressful moments it's not easy to keep a smile on your face and, you know, even in defeat.

But I think everything is -- like I said, I'm not satisfied, but I am very proud of myself. A lot of people didn't make it. We started with -- how many people were in the draw? 128? And I made it to the last two. That's something to be proud of.

It's not always going to be, you know, perfect, but definitely something to be proud of, so you can't really hold your head down.

Q. You said middle of the second set that she kind of raised her level as being kind of how the match turned. I was wondering if you could elaborate on that. What exactly did you see coming from her that was maybe better in the second two sets than in the first?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, she just played better. Obviously I saw my chances in the second. I mean, I still had opportunities, and, I mean, it's kind of just the end of it.

It happened. You learn from it. You move on. You try to be better next time.

Q. All things considered, you have had a fabulous run over this past year since you came back from your injury, the two great results on the hard court, the Open, Miami, and here. If you had to put it into a word, this wonderful run over a year, what would that word be? What are your thoughts on that?
SLOANE STEPHENS: One word? Um, perseverance maybe? Just keep going when the going is tough. Just always believe in yourself when other people don't believe in you.

Can I just state for the record that all of you guys in here were Tweeting that I had a losing record anywhere except for the United States. So I think I have done very well to make the finals of the French Open. So if any of you want to Tweet that, I would be very happy, give you guys a like, a reTweet or something.

Because you seem to only want to say, She's 0 and 8 in the other countries, and blah, blah, blah. Yeah, it's you and you and a lot of you (pointing to different members of the media).

So I just wanted to, for the record, I'm now -- I don't know what I am now, but it's better than I was.

Q. Is that the reason you thanked everyone but the media in the speech?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yep, exactly. You guys are my biggest haters (smiling).

Q. What was your thoughts on your overall mood leaving this tournament? I don't know if you have looked at your prize money check yet or what your reaction would be to it or anything like that.
SLOANE STEPHENS: Well, I heard what it was, and I'm a little let down (smiling).

But it's -- I mean, it's more than what I had before, so that's something to be proud of. I mean, you do it for the love of the sport, not so much for the money. But the money does in fact encourage you to want to get to another Grand Slam final.

Yeah, it's not bad.

Q. Great moment at the net with the two of you. An even funnier moment when you had to sort of give Simona a hint on how to lift the trophy.
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah. Show the world your trophy. You have been waiting for this. So you better put it up in the air and show them what you got today.

And she had a prize money check too, but they don't do that here.

She benefited a lot today, so she should definitely show everybody that she is definitely winning.

Q. Many years ago you arrived here to the fourth round. Have you trained in clay in the States? Also the junior champion is from America. I don't know if it's true that you trained in clay when you are young girls?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, I grew up in Florida so we played on Har-Tru green clay. Nothing ever, like, the French Open. The clay is completely different.

But I like playing on clay. I think Coco likes playing on clay also. I'm very happy for her. American junior tennis is doing amazing, and so is women's tennis, in general, American tennis. Definitely something to be pleased with.

And I'm sure she doesn't hate red clay, so it's a good start for her.

Q. How important is it now for you to kind of try and avoid what happened after the US Open? You said a lot was happening at the time and you had a few losses in a row. How important is it now to take this momentum and just keep going on tour?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, as you guys all know, I do things on my own time when I want to do them, how I want to do them, how I think it fits me best and what I would like to do.

So I'm going to continue to do that, and hopefully in that I make some good decisions and I'm able to have some good results at Wimbledon and take care of myself, more importantly, and put myself first above everything else.

When I do that, I have the best results, so I'm going to try to do that.

Q. You won the US Open and again you have reached the final here at Roland Garros on two separate, different surfaces. Are there any common reasons, do you think, in either your game or your approach that means you have been so successful at two separate Grand Slams?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Ah, no, I just think I'm pretty consistent. I'm an all-court player, can play on a lot of different surfaces, which is cool.

But, yeah, I like clay, I like hard court, I like grass. I like them all. I don't really have anything against any of the surfaces. So I'm pretty open to getting on a new surface and playing and having a bit of fun.

Last two questions? Okay. Last question.

Q. Where do you go from here? Are you going home?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah. I have been here for five weeks. It's a wrap for me. This is it. I loved being here. It was fun. It was amazing to make the finals, but it's definitely time to go home.

Q. What's next for you?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I really don't know. Maybe Eastbourne and Wimbledon. Maybe just Wimbledon. I'm not sure. It's up in the air. I have to take care of myself first and just see what's best.

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