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June 8, 2018

Sloane Stephens

Paris, France

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. Everyone has been commenting on how happy, relaxed, and carefree you appear both on the court and off the court. Do you feel pressure at all, and if so, how do you deal with it?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Well, I just try to go day to day, take it moment by moment. I try not to put too much pressure on myself. That's the easiest way to compete, when you're not thinking about too many things.

Yeah, I just try to stay relaxed in myself and enjoy it. Because obviously if you're struggling with things and you're not happy, it makes it a lot more difficult to have good results or success.

Q. What impresses you most about your opponent, Simona Halep, and what is the key to beating her?
SLOANE STEPHENS: She's a great player. Obviously she's No. 1 in the world for a reason.

I think it will be a great match, but I can't really comment too much on her game and her game style.

Q. How different does this final feel to doing it for the first time at the US Open? Feel the same? Take it in your stride?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, just another good opportunity. Obviously a final is always super special, super important.

Yeah, I'm happy to be here. Glad that I was able to compete the last two weeks very well and end up in another final. Just going to take it in stride and just enjoy it and go out and compete.

Q. Kamau was talking yesterday, I think it was, about how you don't seem so rushed out there. There's a confident feeling. Then he said, out of clarity comes calm. Is that something he's talked to you about? Does that ring true? Could you talk about that phrasing?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah. Obviously when you have confidence, you can do anything. But I think when you're calm and you're just relaxed and you don't panic and you just stay steady, you allow yourself to work through obstacles and adversity or anything that might happen on the court that you were not prepared for.

So for me staying calm is the most important thing. And then being able to take advantage of the confidence that you do have when you're playing deep into a slam is super key.

Q. Would you say you have always had that measure of calm? You're 6-0 in finals. Have you always had that inner strength when it comes to that or is it something you have had to learn?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I think I'm pretty calm on the court all the time, I'd say. I don't get too up, too down.

But I think that it has helped me in finals, but, yeah, it's not something I really focus on. I just try to stay calm and play my game.

Q. For this Grand Slam final, do you feel more or less comfortable than US Open final, for example? Maybe you have different attitude?
SLOANE STEPHENS: No. Like I keep saying, it's another great opportunity being in a final of a slam, so just gotta go out and compete. Really nothing more, nothing less to it.

Q. I read an interview you did earlier in the tournament where you said you were happy if none of the pundits talked about you this tournament.

Q. There is a little more attention. How do you deal with that sort of growing spotlight as the tournament continues?
SLOANE STEPHENS: It's not bad. You guys actually haven't been bad the last two weeks, so it's okay.

Yeah, obviously with wins and the deeper you go into a tournament, there is more expectation on you, and here obviously.

It's not always fun. Today is my off day, and I'm spending it with you guys. It's not ideal, but it's what comes with winning. So it's not too bad.

Q. As you said earlier, you are very calm on the court and that's really impressive. I just want to know, have you always been like that, very calm on the court? Is it a lot of work? Have you always been like that?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, I think I'm pretty calm in general. I don't get too up or too down. I'm very neutral. So on the court, it's not too hard. It's just kind of a normal thing for me.

Q. Before your injury, you obviously were doing well. I think you won three tournaments. But you were really out of it for a long time. Then you come back and, if I have it right, two semis, US Open, Miami, and now here to the finals. Just talk about that. Are you yourself impressed with that, pleased with that? It's a pretty incredible result and run.
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, definitely. After not playing for 11 months, it's some great results. I'm really pleased with that. Obviously a lot of hard work went into it, a lot of adversity, a lot of ups and downs. A lot of emotional, like, you know, am I ever going to be the same? Am I ever going to play good again at a high enough level? Am I a protected ranking? There were so many things that went into it.

And I think now I've kind of -- I have matured a little bit and have recognized the opportunities when they have been presented. I think the most important thing is that I have taken those opportunities and done a lot with them.

Q. Do you allow yourself to think about the trophy and lifting the trophy and being champion before a final, or are you much more of a process-driven athlete?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, no, I think you just have to go out and play. There is a lot of time from now until we actually play the final, to however long the final takes, and then to whoever wins.

There is so much that happens before that, so you kind of have to, like, put that out of your mind. Because you start thinking about it too much, you could be replaying -- you could be six matches in your mind of what's going to happen or what you think is going to happen or whatever.

So I try not to think about that at all. Just focus on what I'm supposed to do on the court and make sure I listen to my coach and just try to keep a clear head.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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