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


January 2, 2013

Sloane Stephens


S. STEPHENS/S. Arvidsson
6‑3, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  So, two matches; you hadn't played since US Open.  Talk about how you feel, your rhythm and all that.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Good to see you too.

Q.  Happy New Year, by the way.  I spent mine on a plane.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I spent my Christmas on a plane, so it's fine.  It's all fair.
Well, haven't played since US Open.  I feel fine; playing well.  Like I took a really long time off after US Open just to get my body right and everything.
I started practicing and everything, feeling great, just kind of loose.  When I came here I was feeling good just on the court and I think just playing well.
A lot of practice.  I've practiced enough for like three years now, so I think I should be ready.

Q.  So how bad was the ab injury?  It was the ab, right?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, it was the ab.  I was kind of just downplaying it like it's no big deal or whatever, but the day before I played I think it was Ivanovic, maybe the day before that, it started bleeding, the muscle started bleeding, so it was getting swollen.  I looked like a fat girl on the court because my stomach was bulging out and it looked terrible.
I just kind of was trying to forget about it, but it didn't work because I couldn't serve, I couldn't do anything.  I did well to fight through it and did the best I could, and it ended up the way it did.  Sometimes it's like that.

Q.  So when did it exactly heal?  When were you 100%?  December?  Late November?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Seven weeks after US Open, however long that was.  No physical activity whatsoever.  So I was kind of just enjoying my life, doing kid things, and hoping that it would get better and hoping I would come here and be able to play pretty good.
I played two really good match so far, so hopefully just keep it going.

Q.  Serena came in yesterday I think and said she was a fan of your game.  How does that make you feel?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  She's so sweet.  (Smiling.)  No, I love her.  Obviously she's been a really great influence in my tennis year career.  I'm excited to play her and get on the court with her tomorrow.  I think it'll be fun.
I mean, I'm glad they likes any tennis game.

Q.  Have you hit with her before?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  We practiced at Fed Cup, yeah, but we practiced next to each other at UCLA, so we practiced like this before, but never ‑ only at Fed Cup we practiced together.

Q.  Do how do you go on court?  You've gotten to know her pretty well over the last year and you realize how well she's been playing the last year.  Obviously you have a lot of ability, but she's been at a really good level.  Do you go out with confidence, nothing to lose, or do you say, This is Serena; she may be too good for me now?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No.  I think if you go out on the court and you already think the other person is better than you then you've already lost.  I think if you just go on the court and just think about what you're going to do and focus on yourself.
Even if I go out there and lose, just bomb it, I don't win a game, at least if I'm able to focus on myself and do what's right for me then it's not a loss.
But if you go out there thinking this person is already better, whatever, whatever, then it's already a loss.

Q.  But you've admired and talked about her, and sometimes it's not easy to play your heroes, no?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, definitely.  But this is a game; this is a business.  I think when you go the court there is no fun and games anymore.  It's a match and you've got to be serious and you got to do what you got to do to win.
This is another match, just like today was a match.  Tomorrow, same thing.  You go out there and do your best and put everything to the side for that hour and a half or two hours that you have to do it, and then you move on.

Q.  Does it give you a lot confidence having somebody with Serena's profile noticing your game?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, not really.  I think it's just becausewe're good ‑‑ I mean, we're good friends.  So, I mean, if she had never seen me play then I would be kind of concerned.  But I think it's okay.
Obviously I always was like, Oh, my God.  I love her to death.  She's amazing, whatever.  Now she's like an actual person and I'm like, Oh, hi.  How is it going?  She's not like a hero anymore.  She's just a friend.
Once this kind of died off it was kind of like okay, well.  It's was been fun.

Q.  Could you get better preparation going into a major than playing someone like Serena?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, not really, I don't think.  But I think I've played well so far just to get the first two matches I did.  I haven't played for a long time.  It's kind of just easing my way back into it.
It's been good so far, so just keep the momentum going.  Whatever happens tomorrow, just go out and do my thing.  I still have Hobart and then Melbourne, so just have fun.

Q.  What are your aspirations for two 2013?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Stay healthy.  Just not be injured at all.  I know that's not possible, but I think just do my best to just stay healthy and not get injured.  Just enjoy it and have fun.
Like I said, I used to hate practicing but now I love it.  I hope I keep loving practice is what I really hope for 2013.

Q.  In terms of ranking, is there any goal in mind?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, not really.  To go up.  (Smiling.)  That would be good.
But I think I'm going to move up a little bit after this tournament.  I don't really have any points to defend for a while, so just go out and do my thing.
And, you know, with wins comes ranking, which comes money, which comes all that other good stuff.  And then you obviously look good on the court, so just, you know, have fun and just hopefully things keep progressing and getting better.

Q.  It also brings pressure.  You've been mentioned as the next generation coming through.  Do you feel pressure?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I don't think I'll feel any pressure until Venus and Serena retire.  I don't think there is anything to worry about.  I don't think American tennis is in jeopardy.  I don't think Sloane's tennis is in jeopardy.  I think everything is just smooth sailing right now and we should keep it that way.
No, no pressure at all.  There are people ranked ahead of me that are American.  I don't know, there are 37 other girls ranked ahead of me, so no pressure.  Just fun.

Q.  What happens if you were to knock her over tomorrow?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  We'll talk about that tomorrow.

Q.  She's lost one match since French Open, which is a long streak.  What does she do particularly well?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Um, did you ask her that question, too?

Q.  I wasn't here yesterday.

Q.  I know what she does well.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Obviously she's one of the greatest players to ever play the game of tennis, and I think she's uses her weapons extremely well.  Her strengths she uses and does them to a T.  I think once you kind of ‑‑ with any player, once you can get around that, that'll be good for you.
But I think right now‑‑ once you have confidence you can do anything.  I think the way that she's riding right now is unbelievable.  It's amazing.  But it can only go for so long.
Not saying that I'm going to break it or whoever is a going to break it, if Vika breaks it, whoever.  Doesn't matter.
But I think once you get that going, it's hard to stop.  So I think that's what she's riding on.  It's tennis.  Anything can happen.

Q.  What do you see as your main strength going into the match against Serena?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Definitely obviously my forehand, my serve.  I worked a lot on my mental and just kind of staying focused and worrying about me.  Just go in and have a good time and focus on myself and see what happens.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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