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January 24, 2013

Sloane Stephens


V. AZARENKA/S. Stephens
6‑1, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  What are your first thoughts on your first slam semifinal?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Uhm, I thought it was okay.  I mean, it was definitely tough.  It was a tough situation.  Uhm, I did my best.  I obviously didn't get the win, but I just did everything I could and came up a little bit short.
All in all it was okay.

Q.  What did you think when she took the long medical break at the end?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Nothing.  It's happened before.  I mean, I've had in the last match, the match before, medical breaks, go to the bathroom, the whole showdown.
It was just something else, but it didn't affect anything, I don't think.

Q.  We had the impression it was for her to calm herself down a bit instead of a physical problem.  Was that the impression you got?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No.  I mean, when you take a medical break or timeout, obviously it's for a reason.  Just a normal, routine break, medical timeout.

Q.  She said she felt overwhelmed, she couldn't breathe, she had chest pains.  She was describing basically a panic attack.  If it was nerves or not a tweaked ankle or knee, does that bother you?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, not really.  I mean, just another something else that happens.  Like if it was one of my friends, I would say, Oh, my God, that sounds like a PP, which is a personal problem.
Other than that, it's just unfortunate.

Q.  You don't want to use that as kind of a reason for why the match didn't go your way?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, not at all.  I mean, she played obviously a really good match.  First set she played awesome; got close in the second.
I just didn't want to give it to her basically and just kind of worked for every point.
It didn't go my way, but I wouldn't say at all what happened affected the match.

Q.  You've had quite a few people take medical timeouts this tournament.  Do you think there are players abusing the system?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, I don't think so.  Like, there's a certain thing in the locker room that tells you like if you take more than six a year or something that they'll start charging you.  That's a good rule.
But the whole time I've been on the WTA Tour I've never had a medical timeout, so I don't know how it feels.  I don't know what they do.  I don't even know what you say.
Honestly, I don't even know how you would call the trainer to the court.  I mean, I don't know.  It happens.

Q.  Would you feel comfortable leaving the court for nine minutes having just blown five match points?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Would I feel comfortable?

Q.  Would it play on your conscience, leaving the court for nine minutes after blowing five match points?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I mean, no.  I don't know.  I mean, it never happened to me before, so I don't know.  I don't know how I would feel.

Q.  Did you lose momentum in those 10 minutes while you were sitting there waiting for her?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Uhm, no.  I mean, I did lose the next game, but I wouldn't say that's because of the medical timeout is why I lost the next game.

Q.  Has she said anything to you?  On TV she was pretty outspoken about the fact that it wasn't your conventional physical break.  Has she apologized or in any way conveyed anything to you about that?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, no, but I'm sure I'll see her.  Of course, I love Vika and we share the same agent.  We actually are pretty good friends.  I'm sure I'll see her and we'll talk about it.

Q.  It was a breathing problem.  Do you feel it may have been some gamesmanship on her part at that point in time?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No.  You just get an oxygen tank or something.  I don't know.  You got to figure it out.  I don't know what the problem is.
Well, I hope she wins the final, so I hope if that's the case she should figure it out, something, get it together.

Q.  Did you have nerves starting out today?  How did you feel going out on the court on such a big occasion?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, definitely.  The semifinals of a Grand Slam, my first semifinals obviously, so it was a bit tough.
But I think I just went out and did my best.  I mean, I didn't get a win.  Really, these last three weeks I've done the best that I could on court.  I just, you know, tried my best and just left it all out there.
I mean, it is what it is.  In three weeks I think I've done a pretty amazing job after not having played as much tennis as I would have liked to.
I mean, things happen, but I think I'm in a pretty good position now.  Moving forward I have a lot of momentum, so I think it's going okay for me.

Q.  You're to No.17 after this tournament.  Pretty big jump.  Does this change your expectations or schedule for the rest of this year?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, it just makes me want to work harder.  Sam Querrey sent me a message and said, You might be ahead of me on Monday, but in three weeks I'm going to be ahead of you.
I said, Uh‑huh.  I have to keep working because I want to stay in front of him.  It just makes me want to get better.

Q.  What was last night like?  Did you sleep okay?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, like a rock.  Regular night.  Same exact thing as I regularly do.  Went to Pizza Napoli with David.  Had two pineapple juices, gnocchi, went to bed 11:00, watched some TV, and woke up like a brilliant person this morning.

Q.  Did beating Serena give you more confidence today going in?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Uhm, yeah.  I mean, I don't know.  It's a tough situation because I definitely‑‑ it definitely does.  But, again, I still had to play another match today, so it was tough.
But definitely knowing that, I mean, I've obviously had three losses in three weeks.  But definitely to Serena, who's, I mean, one of the greatest players to me.  And Vika, No.1 player in the world, not bad.  And Vesnina, who won the tournament in Hobart last week.
I'm obviously coming out of the Australian summer with amazing momentum, knowing I can pretty much hang in there with anybody and even beat some of the best players.
So for me, it's definitely a good feeling, I think.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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