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June 5, 2018

Sloane Stephens

Paris, France

S. STEPHENS/D. Kasatkina

6-3, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. After the last match, you said you were super-excited. So what are your emotions right now?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Oh, I'm super-excited again (smiling) to have my best result here, obviously, being in another semis of a slam is amazing.

Another good opportunity on Thursday, and just really looking forward to it.

Q. Madison, she said you two have no boundaries. Prior to a match together, there's no tiptoeing around the locker room. What's your thoughts on how you will approach being together?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, I mean, it's the same thing as always. When we get on the court, it's time to compete. But before that, we are not going to be weird and awkward and make it, like, weird for each other.

Now I just have to go find her, because I need to tell her some juicy stuff. I just went and searched for her in the training room.

Yeah, I think everything will be normal. And then when we get on the court, it's time to compete. It's go time. Until then, we're the same girls as always.

Q. How happy were you with the way that you were just able to be really solid out there today? How much do you think experience also played into it because you have this experience at this level?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I thought I played pretty solid. I knew that every time you go into a match there are a little bit of nerves that go into it.

I knew I had to come out and keep swinging. Sometimes I start well and sometimes a little sluggish. I knew I needed to keep swinging no matter what, even if it was very close, so that's what I did. And when I got my opportunity at 4-3 to break, I was like, It's go time.

Q. Why American players, you and Madison, are so good on the clay in Paris; whereas, a few years ago American players were not so good on the clay?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I don't know. She's had good results on clay. I have had good results on clay. Maybe we're just the only two people who haven't said that we hate clay, so we've gotten good vibes with it. I don't know.

Q. Madison has said she hated clay.

Q. She has. How do you think this match will be different than at the US Open? One, you haven't done it deep in a slam before against each other; and, two, because it's different conditions, not in the U.S., et cetera.
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, I mean, obviously not playing in the U.S. -- like, I think for both of us, that was the biggest moment of both of our careers last year playing in the finals of the US Open. I think here a lot has happened since then.

We are both playing well in the semis of a Grand Slam. Obviously it's just another opportunity. It's great for American tennis. To have two Americans in the semifinals of the French Open, I think, is pretty incredible. That means one American will be in the final of a French Open, which is another amazing thing.

All in all, I don't think anyone can complain.

Q. When you take on Madison in a really competitive match, does it feel any different on the court because you're such good friends, or does it feel like just another game?
SLOANE STEPHENS: No, it's just you have to go out there and compete just like you do every single match. Doesn't matter who is across the net.

But I think off the court, when we're not playing, we're fine. But when we get on the court, it's go time and it's time to compete and you have to put everything else aside, and you have to compete at your best.

Q. One of the things that has been Madison's biggest challenges is kind of being her own boss. She's copped to that and said there were times she waited for somebody to tell her what to do. Have you seen that growth in her where she's more in command, especially in the bigger moments?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Sure. I mean, I can't really comment on her being her own boss, but -- I have seen her grow as a person. I think she's an amazing person. Sure, she's her own boss.

Q. What sort of juicy stuff do you have to tell her?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Like I would ever tell you, Ben. Do I ever tell you anything?

Q. You make it hard.
SLOANE STEPHENS: No, you're not getting anything. Good try, though (smiling).

Q. Are you going to share an ice cream with Madison before and after the game?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Who's eating ice cream before they play, though?

And they don't have ice cream in the cafeteria, so it's, like, really not an option. But maybe if they did, we would.

Q. Looking back to the US Open finals, I was wondering how much of that day or that match and everything that went on afterwards do you remember? Do you remember everything step by step by step, or all a bit of a haze? What happened on that day?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Like, what do you mean what happened?

Q. How is your memory of that day and when you played that day. Do you remember that match point by point or is it all quick? Does it all flow together?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah. It was a big moment for both of us, and I think there were a lot of emotions and a lot of different things that happened, and I can say I remember the most important moments.

Q. Kasatkina, a lot of variety and different things she can do. None in the end were really working against you. Do you feel tough to beat right now? Are you sort of feeling tough to beat?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Sure, yeah, I guess. I'm playing well, in a good space. I like clay. I mean, the court suits my game pretty well.

Like I said, you have to just take your opportunities when you get them, and it's just match by match, basically.

Q. Some players are really intense on the court and they're just as intense off the court, as well. To me, you seem really chilled and relaxed and really happy off the court. So when you go on to the court, what makes you flip the switch? Conscious effort that you make or does that just kick in?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, it just kicks in. I think I have always been the same on the court no matter what, and that's really never changed over the course of my career.

Yeah, just how I am when I play.

Q. You have been with your coach now for a few years. Some ups, some downs, but that's a good stretch. Seems to be really working.
Just talk about that relationship and why it's good for you.

SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, we have great chemistry. We get along well. It's hard to be away from home and travel a lot of weeks out of the year, and to do it with somebody you really don't like is really not fun.

I think to have a good relationship with your coach and you can actually stand to be around them more than 20 minutes at a time, I think that's a pretty good thing. Mind you, sometimes I really do not like my coach and it's not fun, but that's just kind of how a good coach/player relationship works.

We have had a lot of ups and downs, but I think when it's good, it's good. When it's bad, we've got to work through it. But where we are now is pretty good. Overall, we are pretty consistent.

He knows me well. He knows when I need time and space. And he knows when he needs to be on top of me and make sure that I'm doing what I need to get done. I think that's a good balance.

He's going to be happy I finally said something nice about him.

Q. On the back of that, compared to other players, you have very few people in your box, just three or four, I thought, today. Is that just because you want to surround yourself with the people you want to feel comfortable? Other players you see 15, 20 people in their box and with you it's just a few.
SLOANE STEPHENS: Well, my brother was supposed to come and he lost his passport at LAX, so that's minus one person. I have three: my mom, my coach, my agent. There would have been four, but he lost his passport.

But I just -- whoever wants to come can come, but if you don't, eh, whatever. It seems to work out either way. So it's not really -- don't put much thought into it.

Q. Is he going to get another passport and come join you now?
SLOANE STEPHENS: No, I wouldn't let him come now. Are you kidding me? He missed his opportunity.

He asks me all the time and I always say no anyway. So the one time I say yes, he loses his passport. That's ridiculous. He's not coming. You're not going to see him. Don't worry.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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