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May 27, 2018

Sloane Stephens

Paris, France


6-2, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Welcome back to Paris.

Q. How did it feel to be back after being absent last year?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I miss it. This is such a beautiful place. It's so nice here and the courts are amazing. So it was really nice to get back out there.

Q. How was that court in particular? I mean, you're kind of way out there on the western edge. As the Number 10 seed and the U.S. Open champion, do you think maybe you could have been a little bit bigger stadium?
SLOANE STEPHENS: No. I mean, the court was nice. It's a new court. I mean, obviously, not playing here last year, I missed it. So any court you put me on is okay as long as I get one.

But no, it was actually really nice. There was a full crowd. So, I mean, you can't really complain too much about that.

Q. She came out and hit, like, 70 mile an hour kick serves on her first serve for a while there. Did it take some adjustment on that?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah. I mean, it's always tough when you play a lefty, and then when they spin the serves and stuff, it's a little bit tricky. But I adjusted my feet well and got used to it, and was able to handle it okay.

Q. So you had great early success here six years ago, five years ago, et cetera, and then seemed like you plateaued. What will it take for you to have a breakthrough at this tournament on this surface?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I'll just have to play some good tennis. And, obviously, I've had decent results here before. So I just got to go out and try to do my best.

Q. You had a little bit of a tough streak after winning the U.S. Open. It happens to everybody. I know maybe you had some injury too. How did you recover so quickly and you really look like you're at a top level again now.
SLOANE STEPHENS: I had to take care of myself. I tried to do way more than I should have after the U.S. Open, and I should have just shut it down. But like I've said before, my heart was there but my body wasn't. So when the two things aren't connected, it's never a good thing.

Q. When you're out there, you're a pretty cool cucumber. I mean, we don't always see what's going on inside of you, and some people -- I know Chris Everett mentioned "She doesn't have the fire," or whatever. Is that part of the problem that people outside don't see what's going on inside of you?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Well, I mean, I guess that's what keeps them guessing.

But I've had some pretty good results, so it works for me. Every person is different and what may work for me may not work for the next person, and that's totally fine. Everyone has their own way of doing things.

So I like me, I like the way I do things, and I just stick with that because I feel best that way.

Q. I get the feeling out there now for the last year, I mean, there's been different winners almost everywhere. Everyone feels like, Hey, I have a chance to win. It's not very common. Do you feel that way too and that it proves interesting in all the matches?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah. I mean, I would say now -- and no matter what, anyone, any week can win. Anyone can beat anyone on any day. We play sports so, you know, it's anything can happen.

But I think now it's up for grabs, and I think whoever takes their opportunity best is the person who, you know, is the winner at the end of the week or whatever.

But, yeah, I mean, if you have that confidence and you're playing well, anything can happen.

Q. Your huge win was, obviously, at the Open and this is a question about the Open. If you can just put your years at the Open and maybe focus on last year, whatever, what would be your one favorite moment for you at the U.S. Open?
SLOANE STEPHENS: My one favorite moment?

I don't know my one favorite moment. I think my favorite moment was when I played Shahar Pe'er on the old, like, Armstrong. I think maybe it was second round or something, and she was seeded at the time, and it was, like, a really big deal. And, God, I don't even remember what year that was, that was so long ago. I'm so old now.

But no, that was probably, like, the best moment that I had at the Open. There was tons of people. It was packed. We played on -- what was it? It's Armstrong, the little one that's next to it? Grand Stand, yeah. So we played on that. It was, like, the late afternoon, and it was, like, the best thing in the world.

And I was like, Oh, my God, this is what it feels like to play at the U.S. Open. This is so cool.

And then fast forward to last year. I was playing on Ashe, and I was playing Venus, and it was 5-All in the third set, I think it was, and I hit the backhand down the line and the crowd went berserk. And I was like, Now this is what it feels like to really play at the U.S. Open.

So I had, like, two moments where I was like, Wow, this is really cool.

Q. Just at that moment when the crowd is just going over the top New York style, what do you think? Do you tingle? What happens?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I was just like, Wow. Just one of those moments where you're just like, Wow, that was intense. I thought I knew what was it like, and then I really felt like what it was like when I was playing that match.

Q. The upside, I suppose, of what you had to go through last year is you're not defending any points in this period of time. I mean, you have a tremendous upside, and I just wondered, between now and Wimbledon, does that take pressure off? Does that give you a little bit more, you know, sense of going up, up, up?
SLOANE STEPHENS: No. I mean, every week you have to compete and play against people. And there's people ahead of me that want to keep their ranking and that are defending points and there's a lot of pressure. And anything -- literally anything could happen. And that's just how it is.

But I don't think -- I try not to focus too much on points and defending and next year and practice, blah, blah, blah. Like, it's just -- honestly, it's way too much to think about. So you just have to go out and play.

Because at the end of the day, literally anything can happen. And tennis is so crazy that you could think that you're going to drop 500 points, but then the person above you drops 500 points and you're the same exact spot. So that's just kind of how it works.

Q. Having said that, Sloane, you did speak in Miami about how much it meant to you to be a top 10 player. That's going to be a sentence in your biography forever. So can you put into words what that means now that you've had a few weeks to get used to it?
A. Well, I think it was just that I was so close. And I finished at 11, and then I kind of had some setbacks, and I was around 20, lingering, got injured, blah, blah, blah. Always so close and I never got there.

Like, 10 is way different than 11. So I was like, Okay, once I finally get there, it's fine.

But then I got there and I was like, Okay, like, what happens now? Nothing. It means nothing. Really, it literally means nothing.

So it's cool, and it's just something that I'll be able to tell my kids or someone I coach one day or whatever. But in actuality, it's, like, I'm a decent tennis player. I'm pretty good.

But just being able to say I was in the top 10, like, all right. It's nice. It has a nice ring to it.

Q. You posted on Twitter yesterday "Ready for Ya." Does that mean that a Grand Slam is --
SLOANE STEPHENS: Orange heart#RG18. You forgot that part.

Q. Does that mean you've got added motivation because it's a Grand Slam?
SLOANE STEPHENS: No. I just thought it was a cute picture, and, yeah, it worked.

I mean, obviously, Grand Slams are what everyone works for and, yeah, I mean, I hope to have a good result here and play well here. It's one of my favorite tournaments.

So, yeah, I'm hoping for some good things, but definitely really ready, as you can see.

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