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February 18, 2013

Sloane Stephens


S. CIRSTEA/S. Stephens
5‑7, 6‑3, 6‑2

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Maybe you could just talk about the match.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Tough match.

Q.  You were up obviously a set, and things seemed to really go wrong with the serve.  You were really frustrated out there.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, definitely.  I mean, things happen.  It was a rough day, and I think she obviously played some good tennis.  Every match isn't going to go the way you want it, and obviously I got a little frustrated.
Things happen, but, I mean, no need to dwell on it.  I mean, another tournament.

Q.  You were able to hang in there during the Australian Open, and in tough situations it seemed like as soon as she got the lead at the end of the second set it was tougher for you to stay into the match.  Do you feel the same, that mentally speaking it's tougher for you?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, I wouldn't say that.  I'd just say I really have been focusing on certain things that I want to work on, and it's frustrating when you're trying to do it in a match and things aren't really going your way.
But I think, you know, I'll just keep working and keep enjoying myself.  I mean, it's two tournaments to a place I have never been before, very different and different situation for me.
Definitely weird, like, being seeded last week, and then this week, I mean, playing a tournament ‑‑ I barely got into this tournament.  I think I was the last person in.  Definitely a different situation and kind of a crazy time for me, but I think I'm not going to ‑‑I won't dwell on it and just keep moving on.

Q.  You have had such a great Australian Open.  How easy is it to maintain that sort of high standard continuously?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I mean, it's always tough.  It's very tough to keep a really high level, but I think you just keep working hard, and, you know, hanging in there and you'll be okay.
I mean, obviously it's really tough week in and week out playing perfect tennis and just really being able to execute.  Some days you're going to be on the court and it's not just going to turn out the way you want.  Like today I didn't play my best tennis, and last week I didn't play my best tennis, but, I mean, you just kinda gotta move on.  There are so many more weeks left in the year and so many more opportunities.
I just think, you know, I'm not going to dwell on it and just gonna, you know, keep improving.

Q.  When you look at the last two weeks, what were some of the things ‑‑was it your serve or ‑‑when you look at the game last week compared to Australia, what was wrong?  What was missing?  And also, was your health an issue?  Because you had the abdominal...
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Last week I served awful.  I mean, I haven't served at all because of my ab.  I wouldn't say last week was bad.  I played a really good match last week.  I had match points.
I mean, I wouldn't say that it was a terrible week for me.  I had match points.  I lost, still played really well.  I mean, that's how it kinda goes sometimes.
This week a little bit frustrated, and it kinda ‑‑it just goes like that.  But I wouldn't pinpoint one thing and say, Oh, I lost because of this.  Because that's not what happened.

Q.  Obviously there is a lot ‑‑there is all this media expectation of the face of future tennis, a lot of expectations.  Does that kind of pressure, did that weigh on you coming out of it?  Is that something that was ‑‑I mean, is that reading too much into these losses?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, I think you're going like in a completely different direction.
But, I mean, it's obviously tough.  I'm in a completely new situation.  I'm coming from not being seeded at tournaments to seeded and coming somewhere I have never been before.
I mean, it's definitely ‑‑it's a change for me, and obviously I have a lot more media responsibilities and things like that and a lot of things ‑‑my life has changed drastically.
I mean, it's just ‑‑I mean, I'm going through a change, and sometimes it doesn't click right away.  But I'm working on it, and, I mean, I don't think that ‑‑I don't really feel any pressure.  Serena Williams is No. 1 in the world.  I don't feel any pressure.  (Smiling.)

Q.  Do you enjoy being the center of attention?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, not really.  I wish you guys would all just forget about me and just let me do whatever.  (Smiling.)
That's obviously not going to happen.  I'm definitely working with you guys and hanging in there.

Q.  Do you think you're going to be more comfortable in the coming tournaments, Indian Wells and Miami?  Your high ranking at 16, congratulations by the way.  Do you think you will be more comfortable playing there?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I mean, definitely.  Definitely the easy way out would have just been to stay home and play Memphis and say, Oh, I'm at home, no worries.
But definitely I think when I get back to Indian Wells or get back to Miami I will feel a lot more comfortable.
You know, even if I happen to lose first and first both tournaments, it doesn't matter.  It is what it is.  Things happen.  Plenty more weeks left in the year.

Q.  Given that you, as you said, you could have gone back home to Memphis and despite the results haven't gone your way the past couple of weeks, any regrets coming here, or is it a fact that you have more experience, different conditions, all that sort of stuff?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, definitely.  I mean, this year I think is the last year that Memphis is even having women.  So definitely I don't feel like I missed out on anything, no regrets at all.  Just another opportunity.
And next year I will be better prepared coming here because I will know what I'm getting myself into.  It should be okay.
I didn't even know last week after I lost‑‑ my coach is like, All right, we have to go to Dubai.  You might play on Saturday.
I'm like, What's on Saturday?
He's like, You're in quallies.
I'm like, What?
So definitely like the whole emotional roller‑coaster, but it's coming together.  It's coming back together.  It's okay.

Q.  On the subject of Serena, we all know that she's one of your idols.  Put her getting back into No. 1 into context.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I mean, it's great.  I mean, she's like the oldest person ever to be No. 1.  I guess that's a great thing.
I don't know.  I'm happy for her, and I hope she stays there.

Q.  Does it inspire you on an individual level?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No.  I mean, she's obviously a great player.  And I always saw her at No. 1.  For me, it's not really ‑‑ just because you have a computer ranking of No. 1 doesn't mean she wasn't No. 1  when she won the Olympics, when she won Wimbledon, when she won the US Open.
I mean, the computer ranking is a computer ranking, butI think we all know who the best player in the world was at the time.

Q.  Were you affected by the match against Zakopalova?  Because it was very tough conditions.  You smashed your racquet after match point.  Today you seemed frustrated out there, as well.  So were you affected in a way by the experience from last week?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Last week I think was completely different.  We played ‑‑we played at night ‑‑not at night.  We played in the day and then it got late, and then it got extremely windy.  It was just the whole situation.
I mean, last week was completely different to this week.  Obviously I got a little frustrated but nothing...

Q.  No bad vibes about coming to this tournament because of it?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No.  The only bad vibe I had was that I was playing quallies, but I got in, obviously so it was okay.  (Smiling.)

Q.  Do you think you'll have time to see a little bit of the city before you leave?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Well, yeah, I saw the Burj Khalifa and went to the mall and it was really cool.
It's overwhelming.  Like I don't even enjoy it because I'm like, Oh, my God, there are too many stores, too much stuff to do.
I had fun while I was here.  I'm pretty sure I'm leaving tonight.  It was a short trip, but hopefully next year it will be a little bit longer.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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