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August 28, 2012

Sloane Stephens


S. STEPHENS/F. Schiavone
6‑3, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  You really kicked butt today.  It's amazing.  Your game is just on point.  From last year, the muscle weight you gained, the mental capacity.  Who helped you develop that?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I just believe in myself a lot more and I just know that whatever I put my mind to and I focus on and I really want to do, I do it.  It's not that I just decided, but I decided that tennis is what I love and that's what I just really want to do.
So I give a hundred percent all the time, practice, matches.  I think you only have that one moment when you're playing.  Whenever it is to work hard, do that extra bit, I think I've really focused on that, and I think that's helped me come a really long ways.

Q.  Becoming friends with Serena, does that mean she tells you things about how to play the game and win points and maybe beat her?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I don't think she's going to tell me how to beat her, no (laughter).
We're really good friends.  We really enjoy each other.  We just have a really good relationship.  Whenever I see each other, we're laughing and we're giggling.  I feel like I knew her in my past life or something, I don't know.  It's so strange.
No, she's definitely not going to tell me how to beat her.  We have a good relationship and I'm really happy that we've come this far.

Q.  Was it a point of pride, a maturing point almost, looked like you had a match point go up the line, it was good, they called it out.  How did you put that away and move on?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I was just thinking, you know what, you've got to focus.  You've come this far.  For her to beat you, she's going to have to play some good tennis.  I'm just going to have to fight and focus and make a lot of balls.  I think that's what I did.  I tried to stay aggressive.
I played so well up to that point.  So I was like, I'm not going to do anything out of the ordinary and do anything extra.  I've just got to stay with what I've been doing, stay aggressive.  That's all you can do really.  That's just what I tried to do.

Q.  Was there a time that might have bothered you more?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, not at all.  I mean, every match is the same.  Every court is the same.  Every moment is just as important as the next.  So I think just staying in the moment and focusing.  I was like, Okay, I can do this.  I got to focus, I got to concentrate.  That's what I stayed with and it helped.

Q.  What do you take from this match going forward?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Uhm, I think I played well and I did everything that my coach asked me to do.  I just really stayed within myself and tried to do my best.  For me that's a big step.  If you do everything you want to do in your match, if you accomplish all your goals for today, which I did, I'm pleased, very pleased with myself.  That's something that gives you confidence, and that takes you far, so...

Q.  How is the coach sharing going?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Oh, awesome.  I watched Sam's match.  Kind of upset he lost the first set.  This morning we were actually going to warm up together.  I was like, I'm too nervous, I can't do it.
It's going awesome.  I love Sam, love David.  We get along so well.  It all works out.

Q.  On a day like this when you're both playing, is it complicated?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, not at all.  We warmed up at different times.  He warmed up a little bit before me.  I warmed up.  David went out to watch Sam, then he watched me because we were on the same court.  It worked out perfectly.  Sam is happy.  I'm happy.  We both won.  I think it worked out pretty well.

Q.  In terms of your past life with Serena, how was her serve back then?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Well, she thinks she has super powers.  So I'm going to probably say I don't remember what the serve was like, but it probably had like super powers or something.

Q.  Can you tell us now what really happened in Spain when you were melting down.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  In Spain?  Oh, my God, that seemed so long ago.  In Spain, in Spain?  I've gone through so many happy moments and you just had to bring that one up.
I think I was just‑‑ I'd been on the road for a long time and I was missing home.  I missed my grandparents, my family.  I just kind of needed to reset.  My aunt came.  My mom came.  I got what I needed out of them.  I needed a hug.  I needed my mom to tuck me in, tell me that she loved me.  That's all I really needed.  That's what I got.
I kind of regrouped and took it from there.

Q.  Could you have imagined the runs you've had in Paris and London and now beating Francesca?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Amazing experiences.  Like this year has been unbelievable.  And it's been so much fun.  Everything that I've gone through this year, even like really terrible things, really good things, I think I've learned so much that I'm like, Wow, 2012 has been pretty good to me.

Q.  Did you feel like it was an upset today or that you were supposed to win?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, I wouldn't say that.  But I think it was time.  I lost last week to Bartoli, the week before to Radwanska.  I played so well, I did really good things.  I did exactly what my coach told me to do.  I was like, Man, I didn't win.  I was kind of down about that.
When they told me I played Schiavone, It's time.  It's either go big or go home.  You have to do whatever you have to do.  If you lose, you lose.  If you win, you win.

Q.  When you get a win over a seeded player, does it build belief in yourself that you belong here?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, I believe in myself.  But as I accomplish more and more of my personal goals, my tennis goals, my life goals, all that stuff, it helps me even more.  I think that was kind of like a steppingstone.
Obviously you have to go through phases.  You can't skip a step.  That was like a step that I needed.  I'm happy that step came first.  I mean, it's better than coming way later, so...

Q.  Have you seen yourself on some posters around town?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, I've heard a lot about them.  I know there's one when you come off the subway.  I heard they're on the 7 train.  Yesterday I went to the American Express Experience, saw myself.
I just think it's so cool.  There's a blow‑up picture of me.  I'm like, Wow, that is awesome.  Everyone else who walks by, I'm sure they're like, That's awesome.  That's cool.
No, I love myself.  So seeing myself is like unbelievable.  I don't know if you feel that way, but when I see myself I like freak out.

Q.  You mentioned your family.  Knowing they're in the stands, how does that help you in the game?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Oh, my goodness.  I love my family to death.  My grandparents are here.  I saw my grandparents.  My grandma, she gets so nervous.  Poor thing, she has heart problems.  I hope I don't go to a third set because she's going to be freaking out.
Like having family so supportive has helped me so much.  When I get down, I'll call my Aunt Jen, talk to my cousins.  They really have no idea.  I go to practice, do all these things.  They text me, Good luck, we're thinking of you.  It's just nice to have them there, just to be able to say, I love you, keep working hard.  That keeps me going.

Q.  Do you feel like Sam is on his way to making a big breakthrough?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, I hope so.  Today, I was looking at the schedule and I was like, 27th seed.  I was, like, When did his ranking pass me?  Oh, my God.  I thought we were really close for a while, but he passed me.
He's on his way.  He works so hard.  He's so amazing.  I love him to death.  Seriously, Sam is awesome.  I think I'm probably a little biased.  I think he's like the best person in the world.  But I think he's going to make his move soon.

Q.  Did you have to make any adjustments with the wind out there today?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, at the beginning it was really, really windy.  It calmed down a little bit.  When in doubt, move your feet, bend your knees, just keep going.

Q.  Is Sloane Stephens going to be our next superstar?

Q.  When you walked past the big poster of yourself, did anybody recognize that it was you?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah.  I was practicing on the outside courts.  In the little American Express booths, there will be pictures.  Oh, my God, that's you.  I'm like, That's me.
No, I love seeing myself.  I think other people love seeing me, too, so it all works out.

Q.  Do you have an American Express card?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I do.  I was trying to get my agent to get a black card, but it takes a little bit more than that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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