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September 1, 2012

Sloane Stephens


A. IVANOVIC/S. Stephens
6‑7, 6‑4, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Closer match than last year.  How did you feel about the night?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I thought I played pretty well.  I mean, we played a good match.  It was, I mean, some unfortunate things that happened.  But other than that it was a good match.
I'm happy with the way I'm playing.  I'm getting better and improving and I think that's the most important thing.  Compared to how I was last year, I think it's a big improvement.

Q.  What was the most frustrating moment for you if you had to pick one?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Just not being able to hold serve.  I had like some issues and I couldn't get my serve together.  It was kind of just unfortunate that that had to happen, but...

Q.  Did it have anything to do with the environment or...
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, just personal.  I just have like a minor ab strain and it affected my serve, kind of threw me off a little bit.  Things like that happen.  It's nothing you can control.

Q.  Was it something that bothered you throughout?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No.  This morning I woke up with some swelling.  It was unfortunate that that happened.  I was feeling it.  Just tried to kind of put it out of my head.
Things like that, you can't control it.  Just try and play through it.  I think I went out there and gave it all I had pretty much and then some.  It just didn't happen, work out the way I would have liked.  But I think I gave it everything I had, so that's all that you can really do.

Q.  In light of Roddick's retirement announcement, there have been discussions about who is next.  You've had
so many great matches so far.  Had you entered this match thinking perhaps you could advance further and show people that you're definitely on the rise?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I always think when I walk on the court that I can compete with whoever I'm playing against.  Every opponent is the same.  You're playing someone who is trying to beat you.
I made so many leaps and jumps this year.  I'm really proud of myself.  It's unfortunate that my US Open ended this way.  But I could have lost first round to Schiavone, and I would have fizzled out and that would have been it.  I gave it all I had for this tournament.  I lost the match tonight.
Maybe next year I'll come back and play Ana Ivanovic in the third round again.  I gave it all I had, and that's really all I can ask for.

Q.  Did fatigue set in in that last set?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, not at all.  She played some great tennis.  She stepped up her game.  She competed really well.  I mean, like I said, it didn't happen for me tonight.  But I gave it all that I had.

Q.  Serena said she'd been talking to you, giving you some advice.  What do you think she'll tell you after this match?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I don't even want to think about it.  Well, I hope they play in the quarters so I can watch.  That's all I know.
I don't think she watched.  It was on Tennis Channel tonight.  There's no Tennis Channel in New York hotel rooms for some reason.

Q.  Maybe she's in the players lounge watching it.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I doubt it.  No, I mean, she'll probably just be really positive.  Head up.  That kind of thing.

Q.  Having a professional athlete for a father, an All‑American athlete for a mother, how has that helped you?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Not really at all because my mom is my mom and my dad is my dad.  I mean, my dad played football.  Had nothing to do with tennis.  My mom's a swimmer.  Nothing to do with tennis.  I got some good genes, but that's all they helped me with.

Q.  They never gave you any advice on adversity being an athlete?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, my mom is my mommy.  She just tries to help me the best way she can.

Q.  Now that the four slams are done, how do you feel about the year?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Pretty good.  I think I show up to play when the big money comes around.  What do you think?
At the beginning of the year, I hadn'tplayed from US Open.  Then I went and played Australia.  I played a pretty good match coming back.  I hadn't played any matches.
I went around there, and I was actually surprised with myself.  I lost to Kuznetsova who is a great player.  Then French Open, Wimbledon, played well here, played well, and that's all you can really ask for.  I mean, I love being out there, I love competing.  My ranking is going up.  I'm learning a lot as it's going on.
I'm only 19, so I have a long ways to go, I think.  Serena is still playing, and she's going to be 31.  I have a ways to go.

Q.  What is your fall going to be like?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Seoul, Tokyo, Beijing, and then Luxembourg.

Q.  Does it make it harder when you lose a match that seemed to be winnable?  After the way the tiebreaker ended, you had a full head of steam, this was yours to take.  Would you rather be close and be right there at the end or play out another way?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Would I rather have been really close to winning, like having match point, or would I rather have gotten blown out?

Q.  Yeah.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Well, I think I would have been closer to winning.  I would have liked that better.  It's not like I was that close.  I wasn't that close to winning out there.
But I played some good tennis.  I had some really good moments.  I like being out there.  Every moment out there, it's like crazy, dramatic, like everything.  But, uhm, I like the way it ended.  It's not like it's my last US Open, so...
I think I'll be able to cope with this one and move on.

Q.  Talk a little bit about Ana Ivanovic's level, what she did that was maybe different from last time around.  Assess her play.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Nope, I think she played pretty much the same.  She hits a lot of forehands.  She hits the ball really hard.  She made some really great shots.
That's just kind of how she plays.  She's flashy.  She's with the, C'mons, A‑days (phonetic), whatever they say.  She's a great player.
Just how the game changes and how things go.  But I think she played a good match.

Q.  Seemed like the crowd support was a lot more for you than it was in 2011.  Do you feel like people know who you are and know your face and that will keep growing?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, definitely.  I mean, there's a lot of American players.  I just happen to be plastered all over the US Open site and on the subway.
As your tennis grows, your fan base grows.  People love you more.  You get a lot of attention.  That just comes with the territory.  I enjoy it.  I love seeing little kids, they're like, Oh, my God, I saw your picture on the whatever.  I'm like, Oh, that's awesome.
As you grow and your tennis grows, you get more fans, people love you.  But you got to enjoy it.

Q.  What did you take away from this match?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Some things that I can work on and get better with for myself personally.  All around I think I played a pretty good match.  Like I said, it was better than last year.  To play on Ashe in front of all those people, a night match and that, I mean, it's not every day that you can be like, Yeah, I played a night match.
I played really well.  Things didn't go my way.  But I think a lot of things are to be learned.  I just keep moving forward with that.
Q.  What is your next move?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I'm going home and I'm going to go watch the Bruins next weekend.

Q.  You had some good results this year.  Do you still feel like a new kid on the block?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I feel like I'm pretty used to it.  I remember when I was playing juniors and stuff.  Today we were in the elevators.  I'm like, What are these juniors doing here?  Oh, man, I remember when I was a junior.  That was terrible.  I was probably so annoying.
I feel like I've been around a long time now.  This is only my second full year.  I feel like it's been a while.  But I hate to think about it because then I'm like, It's been a while now, but what about in 10 years?  That's a long ways away.  I mean, yeah, I'm going to just keep thinking I'm still young.

Q.  Could you have foreseen the growth in your game a year ago and where do you see yourself a year from now?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, definitely.  I love improving, and I love seeing myself get better.  I like going on the court and being able to do different things, being like, Oh, I mastered that, or, Oh, that's really cool that I was able to do that.  I think for me I want to keep that mindset, and I want to keep moving forward and not backwards.
Maybe next year I'll be like in the top 10 or something, and you guys can be like, Yeah, remember you said that in your press conference?

Q.  Would you like to be seeded for Australia?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, that would be nice.  That would be really nice.

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