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August 24, 2018

Sloane Stephens

New York, NY, USA

THE MODERATOR: Please welcome 2017 champion, Sloane Stephens.

Questions, please.

Q. New experience for you. Talk a little bit about what happened when you first showed up here again, emotions and everything about being defending champion. Do you feel a lot of pressure?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Well, I've been back about four or five times now. For me being here is super cool obviously again. But as defending champion, obviously a lot of stress, a lot of pressure.

I'm just going to go out and handle it as best I can, just try to play my best. Obviously it's a completely new tournament this year. Just got to go out and do your absolute best and see what happens.

Q. Success has its mixed blessings. Talk about how it feels, the demands.
SLOANE STEPHENS: Definitely there's always a lot of extra things that happen after winning. Obviously an American winning the US Open is pretty big. Definitely a lot of things to do. A lot less down days for myself. But that comes with the territory.

I think I handled it the best that I could. I've just made the most of it, tried to keep my tennis first. That's really all you can do.

Q. 50th US Open now. Aside from the obvious of you winning it yourself, do you have any special matches you remember, shots, highlight that stands out?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I think when I was playing Venus in the semis, and it was like 5-All in the third set or something. I hit a backhand down the line. I think it was 30-All. I don't remember what it was. That was like the point of the tournament. Then obviously playing Venus in the semis, that was my favorite match.

Q. Speaking of another Williams sister, Serena is coming back. How do you see her? Is she in shape? Do you think she's going to be tough to beat this time around?
SLOANE STEPHENS: She's one of the greatest players to ever play, if not the best of our generation. I'm sure she's ready. I'm sure she'll have another great tournament.

Q. Obviously you had a little bit of a slow time after you won last year, but then talk about your season this year. Do you feel like you backed up the US Open, are comfortable with what you've achieved so far this year?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, I can always do better. I think obviously, like I said before, putting my tennis first, making sure I'm able to have more success, have some good results is the most important thing. I think I've done the best I could with that.

I mean, what's happened has happened. I'm proud of my results. I just hope to keep going forward, have some more success.

Q. It has been a busy year for you, Miami, French Open, this summer as well. Coming into this tournament, what are your expectations?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I think at this point I'm just trying to get better and better, trying to improve my ranking, win more tournaments, win more titles. Just because I'm defending here, still have six more tournaments after this. The season continues to go on.

I think that I would love to do well here. Obviously as an American, any American wants to do well here. Having good results in previous tournaments has definitely helped. I'm waiting on all these points to drop off, I'll have a little bit of a cushion.

Just trying to make the most of it, like I said, win as many matches as possible, to improve my ranking. Obviously there's only two places to go from 3. I'm just trying to do my best, making sure that I'm just staying as consistent as possible, having good results.

Q. You were adamant yesterday you didn't want to look at the draw. Have you taken a peek?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, I know who I play now. But I don't look at the draw. Since I was 15 years old, I've never looked. Like, it's not anything new, not anything crazy. I just don't want to look.

Honestly, I never do draw ceremonies. I had to. When you win the US Open, you have to do the draw ceremony. I know who I play now. It will be a good match. I don't know if I ever played her before. I'll have to go back and look.

Q. What are the most significant instances in your life in the last year by being US Open champion?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Just more to do. I mean, everyone would say winning a Grand Slam, there's just a lot more expected of you. I think that is a little bit hard to adjust to. I think in general, just less days for myself is what's really the only thing that's changed.

Q. Have you been offered any opportunity or something because you're the US Open champion, wow, I can do that, meet so and so, maybe that you wouldn't have had otherwise?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Not that I can think of.

Q. Not anything fun?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I mean, no, not really.

Q. Is there anything in particular this summer that you were pleased with as a player on the court?
SLOANE STEPHENS: This summer? I thought I played really well in Montreal. I thought I played a good final there. I feel like the summer is kind of short, I don't know. Yeah, I think that was obviously the highlight, making the finals there, and playing good tennis the whole week, staying pretty consistent. Obviously losing to the No. 1 player in the world is not too bad. Like I said, eventually I'm going to get her, and hopefully it will be soon.

Q. (Question about it being a rivalry.)
SLOANE STEPHENS: No, it's not a rivalry if you don't beat the person, yeah.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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