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July 2, 2018

Sloane Stephens

Wimbledon, London, England

D. VEKIC/S. Stephens

6-1, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What were the conditions out there today? Do you feel like it affected your game?
SLOANE STEPHENS: No. It was a bit windy, but I think that Donna played a good match. It was just a tough day for me.

Q. Anything in particular you felt wasn't working for you?
SLOANE STEPHENS: No. Just a lot of things weren't going as I would have liked them to. Sometimes it happens.

But all things that I could have controlled, move my feet a little bit more, things like that. Yeah, like I said, just a tough day.

Q. You mentioned the footwork. Is that to do with the transition from clay to grass, just something you have to work on in training?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, it's obviously tough. The balls from clay to grass are completely different. The ball stays very low here. You have to make a little bit more of an adjustment. Everyone is dealing with the same conditions, so it's not just me.

Q. What has your training been like since the French Open? When did you first get on grass?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, I thought preparation was good. I had a good training block after the French. I did more than I would normally do. I came in here feeling not too bad. I thought I'd have not a great tournament, but I was feeling good about myself, the way I was playing.

Obviously a bit of confidence coming off of a French Open final, as any player would. But, yeah, just today was unfortunate, unlucky. I played a good player on grass. That's tough. Sometimes that happens.

Q. Would you maybe thinking about going forward playing a leadup tournament next year coming into Wimbledon? Is this preparation the best for you?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, every player is different. I think I did what was best for myself. Every year is different. Maybe next year I'll play a different schedule, maybe not. Just kind of depends.

Q. You're coming into Wimbledon for the first time as a Grand Slam champ, coming off a big French Open. How much more pressure, be it internal, external, were you feeling here?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Not much. I had no points to defend. This is where I started playing last year. Just happy to be back here and not injured. So I think for me it was kind of pretty light, was looking forward to it. Like I said, unfortunate to play Donna. She's a good grass court player. I didn't play my absolute best. That's not what you want.

Yeah, it's just something you kind of just got to roll over and move on, get ready for the hard court season.

Q. You looked pretty frustrated in the first set, and second set. Talk about it a little bit more.
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, it was frustrating. Obviously I wasn't making the shots I wanted to make. Wasn't being as consistent as I wanted to. My feet were a little bit slow. Like I said, sometimes it happens, there's nothing more, nothing less to it. I wish I would have made some more shots.

Q. Serena was in here yesterday talking about her frustration with inconsistency and the number of times different people are tested out of competition by USADA. Do you have any thoughts on that? Are you at all cognizant of how many times you're tested vis-à-vis competition? Any thoughts on that at all?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, no, I don't know how many times people get tested, what the number is, each person. I have no idea. I do think the testing should be fair all the way around. That's pretty much it.

Q. I wanted to ask you about some comments Judy Murray made. She said tennis was due a #MeToo moment. She talked about the tour being very difficult for vulnerable young girls. She said everyone had had examples of abuse. Just wonder whether you had any thoughts whether there needed to be some kind of #MeToo reckoning in tennis?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Well, I think that's, yeah, the first time hearing of it. I just heard of it like two minutes ago. I haven't had enough time to see exactly what was said, what the reasoning was behind it. I can't give you a full answer now.

It will be interesting. I'll read up on it and see what the situation is.

Q. What makes Donna so good on grass?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, I mean, she hits very flat, which works on grass. All of her shots are pretty flat. Decent serve. It works. When you put a couple good patterns together, execute your game properly, obviously anyone can play well, but grass I think suits her game better.

Q. Chris Evert said she'd like to see the first match alternated each year between the reigning women's and men's champion. What do you think about that?

Q. As you experienced the highs at Grand Slams you have in the last year, also a first-round defeat today, what sort of sense of appreciation do you have for people that have gotten deep in the second week at majors and what do you think it takes to be able to do that?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I mean, kudos to them. That's great. I don't know. Each player is different. I mean, you have to be playing some good tennis, get a good draw. A lot of things go into it. I don't know.

Q. What is your process like, you obviously had such a great result at the French, the US Open last year, feeling better after the foot injury, then you come here and have a result like this? Over the next couple weeks, what will your process be like to put it into context, get in a place where you feel competitive?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, you just have to do whatever suits you, whatever my coach thinks is best for me, whatever I think is best for me. I'll focus on whatever I want to focus on, work on whatever I want to work on, not pay attention to much what everybody else is doing, just focus on myself, get in good shape, get excited to play the hard court season.

Q. What allows you to not be bothered too much or sidetracked or change things a lot if you do have setbacks, the losing streak after the US Open championship, first-round exit here or there? Some players look for a new coach, try to change things up. You haven't made radical changes, as far as we know. What is it that allows let something like that change your course?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Well, I think we play a very long season. There's no one that is going to win every single week. Even the No. 1 player in the world loses. It happens. Sometimes people do overreact, say I need a new coach, new physio, whatever it is.

I do believe that if you just work on yourself and focus on yourself, you'll allow yourself to have success, no matter what else is going on around you. Like I said, it's unfortunate I lost today. I totally don't want to be in here talking to you guys about losing in the first round of Wimbledon, it's not fun, not what I want to be doing.

Life does go on. Tomorrow I have to wake up, figure out what I want to do with my coaches, where I want to go, what I want to do. Life goes on. I have to play. I could have another good result in the hard court season, at Cincinnati, wherever. I have to give myself the best chance to be able to have success coming up in the next couple of months or whatever. I have to just kind of move forward, put it in the back of my mind, know that if I do everything possible for myself, I'll allow myself to have a good result.

Q. You go into the next slam as a defending champion. How long will it take to move past this result and have a championship mindset at the next slam?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I don't hang onto things very long. You just think about what I did wrong, what I can improve, what I'm going to do next. I let go of it and move on. I think coming up, the US Open, very special moment for an American to win a US Open. I'm honored to be able to go back as defending champion.

I think there is a lot of pressure. I've never done it before. A lot of other people have. First go around sometimes isn't that great. Like I said, I'm going to do whatever I can to make sure that I'm prepared, in the best shape possible, hopefully playing some good tennis by the time the US Open comes around.

Q. On court were you very nervous, mad, happy?

Q. Today.
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, I was fine. I was great. Like I said before, today just wasn't my day. I wish I could have played better. I wish I would have made some more balls. I wish I could have pushed her a little bit more. It just wasn't working.

Q. After you lost, were you mad? Were you saying, I can't believe I did that? I should have played better?
SLOANE STEPHENS: No. Just no. It's unfortunate. The same thing I said to you is the same thing I said to my coach: Man, that was unfortunate. She played well. It was not too much you can do. I'm not going to, like, go cry bit, bang my racquet. No.

Look, what happened, what did you learn, let's work on it. It happened. Can't dwell on it. Can't take it back, yeah.

Q. You stick around in London?
SLOANE STEPHENS: No, I don't know yet. I'm going to go have lunch, talk to my coach, see what we're going to do.

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