home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


August 31, 2018

Sloane Stephens

New York, NY, USA

S. STEPHENS/V. Azarenka

6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How are you feeling to be through that and your relief at the end seemed...
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, very happy to be through. Obviously little rocky in the second set. I started off well and I played a solid match. So I was happy with that. The fight was good throughout. Really pleased.

Q. Vika was just in here and she said that it was a matter of a few points here and there that determined the match. Is that what your feeling was, those tiny little things that kind of helped you push past her?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, I think my fight was good, but I thought that there were some points that were very crucial, like in the second. When you win or lose those points, sometimes that's how the matches go. Yeah, she's right. It was a few points in the second that really kind of changed the match.

Q. You have always been a great big-match player, but do you feel like your career is different, you're playing better this half of your career than before you left with the injury?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Well, obviously I have had my best result after my injury, so you could say yeah. I'm definitely older, more mature. A lot of things have happened in my life, my career, and what have you.

But I think, yeah, I'm playing well now. Definitely different than last year coming in as a higher seed. And last year, a lot of things have changed. Just happy with the progress I have made over the year.

Q. Is that coaching, or is that...
SLOANE STEPHENS: I think that's just growing up.

Q. Compared to your earlier meetings with Vika, what's been the reason for the recent success against her?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I think the first couple times I played her, I was just like the young gun, just happy to be on the court with someone who's ranked No. 1 in the world and had won a Grand Slam already. I think the tables were turned. 4.

Obviously as a younger player playing someone who's ranked No. 1 in the world or has had amazing results, when you're playing them at 20-, 21-year-olds, it's a bit different. Kind of like when I played Kalinina -- how do you say her name? When I played her, I was the older one. She was the younger one. It was just like the matchup is different.

I think when I played Azarenka the first couple times, it was more like that. Like I said, I was just happy to be on the court with her and competing and pushing her and playing good points and things like that. Not necessarily expecting to win. Now I'm in a position where I fully believe I can win the match, and I go out there ready to execute and ready to play. I think that kind of changes the dynamic of the match.

Q. What was it about Mertens that was tough at Cincinnati and what are your expectations for this time?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I think I was extremely tired coming off of Montreal. Obviously had set points in the first. I actually didn't play bad, but when you don't execute well, mentally, I was tired, I was fried.

So -- what day is today? Sunday I will just go out and play my best and try to play my best, obviously. And my legs feel a lot better than they did on whatever day I played her, I'll tell you that much. I'll just go out and do my best and execute, try to execute the game plan my coach gives me and see what happens.

She's a good player, so anything can happen.

Q. What makes her a good player? What specifically is strongest in her game, do you think?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I didn't really dwell on the match too much and go back and look at it. I was kind of over it because I was ready to move on. I don't have any exact details at the moment, but I know she competed well. She had a good serve? I don't know.

Q. That little break there in the second set with the roof closing, how did that -- either from a physical standpoint or mental standpoint in terms of maybe resetting, coming out strong after that for the rest of the match?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, I changed my dress and I was, like, All right, keep fighting, keep playing. That was pretty much it. I won the next three games. I played some really good points those games. I was happy with that. I played much better the last three games. I don't think it was much of the roof closing, but more just kind of refocusing.

But, yeah, I mean, I don't know.

Q. After Li Na won the Australian Open, she famously looked to her team and said to her agent, Hey, thanks, you make me rich.
SLOANE STEPHENS: I feel that (smiling). I love it. That's a good one.

Q. You have had all these incredible endorsement contracts since the big win here last year. What goes through your mind when your management team comes to you and says, Hey, we're doing Mercedes, chocolate milk, what do you feel about that incredible wealth that's come your way?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I'm obviously grateful for the opportunity, that I'm in the position to be an ambassador for all these great companies. But I think anyone would be happy to sign with Mercedes or chocolate milk and all the great companies that I'm with.

Obviously making money is what everyone wants to do, so thankful for that, as well.

I don't think there is much to complain about. I'm just happy that the direct deposit hits on time.

Q. It's a bit cooler out now, maybe an opportunity to walk more than a block without running back to AC. Is this the time of the tournament where you want to conserve your energy?
SLOANE STEPHENS: No, I think now the weather is better, normally I would go out in the afternoon, not stay in the hotel eight hours straight. That one day I was in the hotel eight hours straight, because it was too hot outside.

I'll probably take an afternoon stroll, get a hot chocolate or something. I don't know. Just do something.

Q. Is there a neighborhood in particular you like in Manhattan?
SLOANE STEPHENS: No, I'm local. I stay within a five-block radius. That's it.

Q. Any thoughts on Venus versus Serena tonight?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I think it will be a great match, obviously. Their 30th time playing, which is pretty insane. I don't know how they do it. If I had to play my sister, I'd be, like, I don't even know. I think it will be a great match. I'll definitely be watching. Get Pinkberry, Haagen-Dazs, plop on the couch and get ready for a good show.

Q. Can you talk about the importance of finding the right team, because you changed it up for a while? But you have been pretty settled with Kamau.
SLOANE STEPHENS: I think you have to just stick with what you know. Sometimes a lot of people panic and fire their coach, need a change. There are times I absolutely do not want to speak to my coach and I think he's the worst person on the planet. He helps me win and knows what's best for me, so you kind of have to go with that.

Obviously we're not going to always be the best of friends and like each other. I'm going to think some things he's doing are wrong; he's going to think some things I'm doing are wrong. But at the end of the day, when you have someone you have good chemistry with, you know them, they know you, and you know they have your best interests. You're not going to get rid of the person just because you lost the match. I think it's bigger than that.

I think that's definitely helped in the last -- how long have I been with Kamau, three years now. That's definitely helped my career, settle more and be balanced, because I have had a consistent voice, I'd say. I think just with everyone on my team, I have had the same people around, and I think that's really helped me. Super important.

Q. Regarding Venus and Serena, I want to ask you, do you consider it a blessing or a curse that they need to play each other? How would you describe their rivalry?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Obviously another opportunity for them to play. It's unfortunate someone has to win and someone has to lose. Obviously one of the greatest rivalries of all time, two of the greatest players to play tennis, the sport. Not only for women's tennis, but women athletes all over the world, I think they have been two great role models and great ambassadors.

I think it will be a good match. Any match they play, they represent women across the world. And I think it's definitely a blessing they have been able to do that.

Q. Your hotel, I know you have a partnership with a hotel this year. Curious how you go about picking a hotel, what you're looking for.
SLOANE STEPHENS: I don't know. Ask John. I don't know. I just go where there's a bed and AC. That's where I lay my head (smiling).

Q. Is there something from last year that you would maybe learn about managing this tournament, either your time or obligations that you want to make sure you do this tournament or that you really thought back on and said, Man, that worked well and I want to do that again, other than winning?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Other than that?

No, obviously just every tournament is different, and obviously from here last year, a lot has happened. I have played a lot of tournaments, been in really big moments, and I think just learning from every experience, being in another final, semifinal or quarterfinal. Every experience is different, but I think every tournament, when you find a good rhythm and something that works for you, you should just keep at it.

It's never going to be easy. There's going to be a lot of adversity. Sometimes there's going to be traffic, and then you miss your breakfast time. Things happen. I think how you adjust and are able to find the right balance is what kind of at the end of the day is what helps you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297