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January 19, 2013

Sloane Stephens


7‑5, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Did it feel like Fed Cup match?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, it was intense.  I felt like I was playing an Italian player in Italy.  It was crazy.
But, yeah, I don't know.  It's weird.

Q.  Don't understand why?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, I totally understand.  But I just didn't think it would be like that.  Who knew that all those people would come.  It was on a little court.  I'm going to have to talk to Craig.  It was crazy.

Q.  Were you surprised to be on that court?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, I saw your tweet about how the people are like we have to go out to watch Cilic so we can get an early seat or whatever.  When I saw the court, I was like, Wow, really, we're on this court?  I mean, it is what it is.  I don't think we'll play that court ever again.  We're turning into the Fed/Nadal rivalry.

Q.  Do you feel like that at all?  You joke, but is that serious somewhat?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Whenever we play, we have good matches.  I mean, it could be.  It's obviously going to take a while.
The matches are good.  We have good matches when we play.  So we'll see.

Q.  It was gusty.

Q.  Hardest one you played on or not?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, I mean, it's kind of exactly like what we played last week in Hobart.  It was like playing the same exact match over again.  It was kind of weird because like yesterday was ‑‑ yesterday was the day that it was really hot or day before that?
Then the next day was okay.  Today was extremely windy.  I'm confused.  The weather needs to make up its mind.  It's a whole bunch of seasons like in three days.

Q.  Talk about the intensity level throughout.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  It was super intense.  I think there wasn't a point where there wasn't something like, Oh, my goodness, this is intense.  I was up like 4‑0, 4‑All.  We had some pretty intense games.  That's what it's about, getting out there and getting after it.
We played a good match.  It was intense, but it was good.

Q.  You seemed like you lost your momentum when she took that medical timeout.  Is that fair to say?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, fair enough.  But just kind of how the game, how it works.  I mean, I've played probably‑‑ I don't know how many matches I played since I've been to Australia.  But I'd say like a good five of them there's been a bathroom break or a medical timeout.  So I'm used to it.

Q.  Do you mind when the crowd was pretty much for her?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  There were some stragglers out there for me.  Let's not make it sound like she was the only person they were cheering for.
It's fine.  Sometimes it's going to be like that.  I played Pennetta in Rome.  That was the most intense match.  I had no chance of winning.  It was the most intense thing.  Nothing compares to that.  It just doesn't even faze me because that was intense.

Q.  You had a good look at the tour now.  Do you feel like you're ready to make a big impact?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, definitely.  I think I'm‑‑ yeah, I think I'm settling and I feel a lot more comfortable on the court.  Even going from tournament to tournament, I don't feel so much anxiety like, Oh, my God, I've got to go to this place, I've got to go here, I've got to get on a plane.
I kind of just realize that this is how it works, this is what I have to do to be great.  It's worked out so far.

Q.  How do you feel about your overall level in the tournament?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Honestly I haven't played my best tennis.  But, I mean, sometimes it's just going to be like that.  Sometimes it's going to be ugly and you just have to work your way through.
It hasn't been the prettiest, but mentally it's been beautiful.  I mean, that's really all you can take from that.

Q.  Did you go out and hit after this match?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Oh, no.  I don't do that.  I can't do that.  In Miami I played Errani like a three‑hour match, and then I went and practiced for like an hour.  I was dying.  I can't do that anymore.
Last week luckily my mom saved me.  My coach was like, Let's get some serves.  My mom was like, No, she has a fever.

Q.  When the crowd is like that, do you focus more and do you concentrate more?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  After the first game, after they cheer extremely loud for the first game, I think it just doesn't even affect you anymore.

Q.  When they cheer your unforced errors, you don't feel like turning and saying, Can you shut up?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  It sounds like blah.  You don't even hear it after a while.

Q.  How well do you know Laura off the court?  Do you talk ever?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, we're pretty good friends.  Actually my mom and her mom are good friends.  Right after I got off the court, my mom texted me.  She was like, Great job, good fight.  And she said, Cathy says, Great job and good luck in the next round.  That's Laura's mom.
Laura and I are good friends.  She's obviously a good player.  We're going to have a rivalry, all that good stuff.

Q.  How good do you think she can be?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  She can be awesome.  We were coached by the same person.  She has unbelievable timing.  She's an awesome girl.  She's pretty.  I mean, what more do you want?

Q.  What do you know about either of your next opponents?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Date, that's funny, because they were saying she could be my mom, which is like kind of weird.  It would be like playing one of my mom's friends, which is kind of, hmm, not so fun.
But, yeah, I have seen her a couple of times, Jovanovski.  Sort of kind of the same age as me.  She's a little bit older.
Just another match.  Just got to go out and play my game.

Q.  So second week of a Grand Slam in the last four.  Do you feel much more mentally secure, no nerves whatsoever, you can just go out there and play?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah.  Obviously, Grand Slams I come to play.  Who cares about the other tournaments?  No.
It just takes a little time.  Once you get used to it, get comfortable, it's a lot easier.

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