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March 21, 2013

Sloane Stephens


S. STEPHENS/O. Govortsova
0‑6, 6‑4, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Obviously it was a tough first set, but were able to hang in there and fight back.  Take us through that.  You were battling with your emotions out there.  Seemed like there were moments where you were struggling.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, definitely.  I wasn't playing that great.  I mean, it's not that I wasn't playing great.  I was asleep out there.  I definitely just needed to wake up and start playing.
I thought I played some good points even in the first set when I was, like, not there.  But definitely tough.  A lot of just battling and just hanging in there.
I was just happy to get through in the end.

Q.  When did you start to feel like maybe things were shifting?  Was there a moment, a point, or anything where you started to feel like, Okay, I'm finding my groove and finding my rhythm?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, I think after I won a game in the second set I was much better and I thought, I'm just going to go ahead and play.
Definitely she played ‑‑she played actually really well.  It wasn't all just me, but she was playing some good tennis.
So it was tough in that case, too.  But just, you know, once I got a game, I was like, Okay, now I can play.

Q.  Does losing a set like that and then coming back, is that actually a good experience?  Does that help in a way psychologically?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, like, my coach came out on the court and he was like, I love losing a set 6‑0.  I'm like, Dude, shut up.
No, I mean, it was like normal.  You've just got to play.  I don't know how I'm ranked as high as I am losing a set 6‑0.  Like that's insane.
Definitely tough experience, but it's nice to win the next two sets.

Q.  Can you talk about how it feels to have the whole stadium cheering for you?  Does it feel like you have a home court advantage?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah.  I mean, yeah, I mean, it's good when they get excited and they're cheering a lot.
It's definitely tough.  I think they are as exhausted as I am just, like, being out there in the sun and cheering.
So it's definitely a good thing, but it also ‑‑it's exhausting.

Q.  Would you consider Sony Open to be a fifth Grand Slam?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Um, yeah.  I mean, I think all premier mandatories are like a fifth Grand Slam, which would make it 11, 12, like however many there are.  But definitely the higher tournaments, like especially this one, definitely is in there.

Q.  Which tournament would you like to win?  Which one is your favorite to win?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I want to win US Open obviously.  It's a home slam.
But outside of that probably here and Indian Wells are, like, my other two favorites.

Q.  You'll play the winner of Venus and Kimiko.  Can you talk about each of those people?  Have you played Venus before?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No.  I mean, I have played her in World TeamTennis match, but not in a real match.
Definitely to play Venus, that would be awesome; to play Kimiko, it would be awesome again.
So I think I'm just looking forward to it and just see who wins later tonight and hopefully give you guys another good match for next round.

Q.  What do you like the best about Key Biscayne?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  There's a restaurant here ‑‑oh, my goodness, this table just cut my leg.  There is a restaurant here called Sir Pizza.  It's my favorite.

Q.  Do you enjoy tennis life, staying in hotels, traveling?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, it's okay.  I mean, it's not bad.  It's definitely long weeks on the road and away from home.  You get used to it, and, like, the places we get to go to are pretty nice.  The overall experience is good, so it's not bad.

Q.  I know you started playing first when you were younger at Plantation Central Park.  It says you live now in Coral Springs; is that correct?  It says residence, Coral Springs.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, but when I first started playing tennis I lived in California.
But I mean, I've practiced at Frank Veltri a lot, but...  What's the question?

Q.  Do you live in Coral Springs?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, my house is in Coral Springs.

Q.  It is.  Do you spend a lot of time there?

Q.  You do.

Q.  So this is definitely home for you?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I mean, this is a long way from home, but, I mean, yeah.  (Smiling.)

Q.  You have talked a little bit in the past about the pressure and how your life has changed since the Aussie.  To be able to move forward in this tournament, what does that do for you and your confidence as you just continue with this new life and in the new spotlight that you're in?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  It's good.  I mean, it's definitely tough, like, the way I'm living now and compared to what I was doing before.  It's a lot of ‑‑it definitely feels like every day runs into each other and there is not enough time in the day and it's stressful.
I mean, it's tough, but I'm getting the hang of it.  I mean, I think anyone would die to change places with me, so I'm just happy where I'm at.
It just feels good to get a win after having some tough losses after Australia.  So, yeah, I mean, like I was saying, I was telling my mom earlier, I was like, Last year I played five matches in a row to get to the third round, or ‑‑four matches to get to the third round?
Yeah, quallies ‑‑yeah, so I played four matches to get to the third round, and now I won one round and now I'm in the third round.
It's definitely an experience, and how things change in a year, it's obviously very crazy.
But, I mean, wins and losses and going through, like, the tough situations after Australia, I mean, definitely helps me.  I mean, I'm happy to be where I am now.

Q.  How does it feel to be on TV and the Ellen Degeneres Show?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  It was fun.  Definitely part of, like I say, all those crazy experiences I had after Australia.  It's been fun, though, and my grandparents and brother gets to see.  And, like, my brother gets excited, so it's definitely fun and good times.
But, I mean, that's, like, normal now.  I mean, before it was kind of like, Oh, my God!  I'm going on Ellen.  Now I'm like, Oh, my God.  I'm going on Ellen.

Q.  I saw your match earlier, and you obviously struggled really badly in the first set.  What was it that you were able to get together after that and get going?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I don't think I struggled really badly.  I mean, that's pretty extreme.  I lost the first set 6‑0, but I actually didn't play that bad.
Definitely had to fight back and battle and play some good points.  Just glad to win the last two sets.

Q.  Who is here from your family watching today?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Just my mom.

Q.  Mom?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah.  My brother is coming tomorrow so he'll be here for the next match.

Q.  How old is your brother?

Q.  So his spring break starts tomorrow?

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