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March 23, 2013

Sloane Stephens


THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Disappointed that you didn't get to play Venus and get that match out of your system today?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, a little bummed.  But I guess a win is a win, so just on to the next round.

Q.  Did you go hit for a while this afternoon after it got called off, or what did you do?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, I just wanted to hit and just went to the gym and that was pretty much it.  Just normal.  Like another day off, I guess.

Q.  How did you find out?  Were you getting ready to walk out?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Oh, no.  I was sitting in the gym before the match, and the lady came up to me and, Oh, Venus is going to withdraw.  She wanted me to let you know.
I was like, Oh, okay.  It was like 30, 40 minutes before.

Q.  How does that affect your mindset?  You're preparing your mindset for a match like that and then she pulls out.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  It was like, okay, I don't know, I wouldn't say a letdown, but you're so ready to play and it was like, Oh.
It was tough, but I guess it's good.  I get to play another match.  That's always a good thing.

Q.  What time exactly were you told?  It was a not‑before 4:30.  What time were you told?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  About a little after 4:00.

Q.  Probably tired of answering these questions, but you're supposed to play Venus today, and when you were in Australia and you played Serena there has been a lot of comparisons.  Is that sort of overblown how much you have looked up to them, or is that accurate?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I mean, I definitely ‑‑ obviously Venus and Serena are great inspirations to kids, and especially to American girls in the sport.  Definitely it was a little bit blown out of proportion, but obviously looked up to them because they are amazing athletes and great tennis players.
But I think ‑‑ it's kind of died off a little bit now, but it's definitely they have always been great inspirations, not only to me but to everyone.

Q.  You may not want to answer this, but who would have won today?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Well, I hope me.  (Laughter.)
Jeez.  I'm definitely not going to say the other person.

Q.  How do you feel your game is this week?  You had the big win in Australia.  Didn't do as well as you wanted to in Indian Wells.  Do you feel your game is back together?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, definitely some tough matches after Australia.  It was definitely a tough time, but I think now I'm just getting back into it and just having fun out there again.
Obviously I had a little bit of a slow start here, but, I mean, you've just got to keep it going and keep having fun.  Obviously going week to week is a little difficult and a little bit draining, but just got to keep going.

Q.  As your career progresses, what is the key to being consistent, consistent through the ups and downs of tournaments all over the world?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  To have a positive attitude and just have fun out there.  It's definitely tough going week to week and always being away from home and everything.
It's definitely tough staying in there, staying focused.  It's a lot of effort, a lot of hard work.  But I think once you kind of get into a groove of, like, what you have been doing, I mean, to stay consistent, I think it's pretty ‑not easy ‑ but it's definitely easier.

Q.  Do you ever think back to last year when you were in the qualifying match here and ended your match and somebody heard it was your birthday and the crowd started serenading you with happy birthday?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, yeah, it's crazy how last year I played four matches to make it to the third round, and then this year I got a bye and won one match and I was in the third round.
So definitely things have changed, but in a good way.  That's good.

Q.  Do you have to kind of concentrate, now that you're becoming more known and there are are more media and outside requests, just kind of the balancing of staying sharp with the tennis, with the other stuff?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah.  I think the biggest thing for me was just learning how to say no.  That's definitely tough, just having everyone saying, I want to you do this, I want you to do that.
Sometimes I just, I don't want to do it, and it's tough to fake it.  But I definitely have some times where I just say yes just because I want to please someone else or whatever.
Definitely I think the most important thing is learning how to say no and sticking to what you want to do.

Q.  How much of a support system is your mother?  How much what kind of impact does she have on you?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  My mom, obviously she's everywhere pretty much.  My brother is coming tomorrow.  I think we're pretty close.  I think it's tough on my mother because my brother is in high school and he's playing baseball and running track and he has a lot of stuff going on, too.
So it's not easy raising two athletes, but I think she's done a pretty good job.

Q.  Venus is 32.  Could you see playing that much, that long?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Oh, man.  That's crazy.  I don't know.  I just turned 20, so I don't know.  I mean, I hope.  I mean, if I can I want to, but that's still really a long ways away for me.

Q.  Have you set any kind of goals in terms of your career longevity?
No.  I mean, no.  I want to play for as long as possible, but if that means I can play until 42 like Kimiko Date, like, I don't think I'd push it that far, but as long as my body is willing to go with me.

Q.  Is your life more difficult now than it was a year ago?  I know tennis‑wise it's much better, but...
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, definitely a lot of ‑‑no, I have a lot more things to do and I'm really, really busy.  It's definitely tougher.
But, I mean, it comes with the territory.  I mean, I want to be a professional tennis player, and this is what I wanted to do with my life.  Definitely it's everything that comes with it.
I want to play tennis and this is what I love to do, so I have to do all these other things, too.

Q.  Are you primarily based in Southern California or South Florida now?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I spend a lot of time both places.  We live here, and, I mean, I practice in LA because I split David Nainkin with Sam Querrey.  I definitely practice in LA but I live here.

Q.  How often do you think back to these days, to the courts in Coral Springs?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  What did you say?

Q.  When you got started, first started playing tennis.  How often do you think back to how much fun it was back then without all these obligations?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Well, I mean, I was ten so it's a little bit different than now.  But I'd say it was fun.  Like when I first started playing it was always fun and it was just something to do.
Now I have, like, to come to press after practice and I have to, like, do all these other things, and media, blah, blah, blah.  But it's definitely way different than when I started playing.
But, I mean, I guess that's what you kind of, like, work towards.  You work to, like, slave yourself.  I don't know if that's bad.  You work hard to do more work.

Q.  Next person you face is the defending champion.  Any thoughts on that match?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  It will be a good match.  We played in Cincinnati.  We played a great match.  Just looking forward to getting back on the court again.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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