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June 26, 2013

Sloane Stephens


S. STEPHENS/A. Petkovic
7‑6, 2‑6, 8‑6

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  It didn't come easy.  Talk about the battle.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, it was definitely a tough day.  I think she played well; I played well.  I mean, sometimes it's tough out there and you got to play hard.
I mean, it was definitely a battle, but that's what you go out and play for.  You go out there and compete.  I think it was a good match.

Q.  You're 8‑3 in three‑setters.  Talk about that.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, third set is a chance to start over.  It's even.  You have one set to just play hard.
I mean, just try to put everything out of your mind and keep playing.  You lose a set and you just kind of put it...

Q.  Do you have confidence when it goes to three, regardless what happens in the second set?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, I mean, definitely.  You just kind of‑‑ I mean, it's even, so you just go out and play hard.  I don't really think about if I lost that set or if I won that set.  You just have to go out and play and fight.

Q.  Do you have any awareness of the seven players that retired or had walkovers, and Wozniacki, Sharapova, Ivanovic losing?  Any of that take note?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, no, I mean, definitely it started this morning.  Isner was on my court.  The second point he started, Oh, my God, this is not happening right now.  I think he started the whole thing.  The whole day, today has been bizarre.  I don't know what's going on.

Q.  Sixth straight slam you made the third round at.  Pretty good consistency early in your career.  How do you think you've been able to do that?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I don't know.  I guess I just have been pretty good in slams.  Pretty consistent.  I don't know.  Maybe it's the food I eat.  I'm not really sure.

Q.  Indian?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah (smiling).

Q.  What is your feeling on the shape of the courts?  Some of the players are saying they're too slippery and that's why shares injuries.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I mean, grass is grass.  I mean, we're really playing on grass.  It is what it is.  You just got to go out and play hard.  The court is the same for everyone.  Everyone in the tournament is playing on grass.  You just got to go out there and play your hardest.

Q.  Do you find it easier to focus at the slams because they are so important?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Uhm, no.  I don't think so.  I mean, every tournament is really important so you just kind of got to go out there and play hard.  I don't know why I play so well in slams.  I don't have an answer.
It's a good thing, so...

Q.  You didn't seem to be slipping too much out there in comparison to others.  Could you talk about your footwork, your balance, your athleticism?  Do you think that's a strength?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Uhm, yeah, I guess.  I fell once.  It was uncomfortable.  But, I mean, I don't know.  I try not to fall.  I just stay above, up high, yeah.  I don't know.  I don't want to be on the ground.

Q.  You have Cetkovska next.  Beat her last year here in three.  Thoughts on that match.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, played her last year; I played well.  I think she's just like coming back from injury.  I think it will be a good match.  She plays well on grass.
I think she's done pretty well here.  It will be a good match, another battle.  So just got to go out and play hard.

Q.  Do you feel like now after today that the bottom half is there for whoever wants to grab it?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Well, I don't look at draws, but I know I'm on the bottom half and that Sharapova and somebody else...

Q.  Azarenka.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Well, all of them were on the bottom.  So, I mean, definitely open for whomever.  But I haven't looked at the draw.  I don't look at draws so I don't know who I would have played first or whatever.
I mean, I'm just going to keep it that way and play one match at a time, so...

Q.  Do you ever look at matches as gut‑check matches?  Could this have been one with a player that is former top 10, not that much to lose?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, I mean, a lot of experience.  She's played really well.  Last time we played she smoked me.  I mean, it was good to just get the win and then put in the back of my mind that I got smoked once.
So I just can be happy that I got the win today.  I mean, definitely she's a great player.  It's good to get a W over her.

Q.  How important was it to go home after Roland Garros and relax?  You all have long clay court seasons.  Did you feel a lot better coming back to Europe?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, definitely.  I just needed to regroup, I think.  Once I did that, I felt good.  I saw my mom.  Well, I see my mom all the time.  I saw my brother, my grandparents.  Went to go visit them.  I kind of relaxed a little bit, came over a week early and practiced here, got ready.
I think I just needed a little bit of a break.

Q.  Are you able to forget the tennis?  Are you able to put the tennis aside?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, I am.  But my grandparents are not.  I went to go visit my grandma and she was bringing out magazines.  Will you sign this?  Will you call my friend, Mrs.Neumeir like down the street?  I mean, it's a little tough.  I forget it easily, but others don't.

Q.  Grandparents are trying to watch you on the machine?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, on the machine.  I don't know if they got to watch today.  Or they did watch.  My grandpa like screenshot pictures of myself.  I'm sure they're very entertained.

Q.  Who is Mrs.Neumeir and what did you talk about?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Mrs.Neumeir, she makes persimmon pies.  It's like one of my grandparents' best and oldest friends.  They were like in their wedding or something, right?  Maybe not in the wedding, but whatever.  Old friends.
I went to go visit her once.  The whole story was my mom got inducted into the Hall of Fame.  They went to the Hall of Fame dinner, and this lady was talking about tennis, how she loves this girl named Sloane, blah, blah, blah.
My uncle is, You know that's Sybil's daughter?  Oh, my God.  That's how old people think.  Then like the whole story went on.  Finally Mrs.Neumeir found out who I was and started calling my grandmother.  I went to visit Mrs.Neumeir.  She gave me a persimmon pie.  Now I have to go visit her every time I'm home.

Q.  Is it just a new generation?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  It's 8 to 80.  It's everybody.

Q.  Any more additional expectations you put on yourself when you see all these big names going out of your section?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Uhm, no, not really.  I mean, like I said, you have to go and play.  That's like saying when Nadal lost, Federer is so happy.  He has five more matches to play.  Like come on, you got a ways to go.
I still think you got to play.  Even if I lost next round, okay, bummer.  Who cares?  But the tournament is still going to go on.  There's going to be a winner, a loser, a final.  The world keeps spinning.  You have to focus and keep playing.

Q.  Are you aware that younger players are winning, like Robson, Bouchard, Keys, and Puig all still in the tournament and all still ambitious?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, I was happy for Genie.  I saw her on Centre Court.  I've known Genie since she was 12.  And Puig, we grew up playing.  We all went to the same academy together, which is strange.  I'm really happy for all of them.  I think I'm the oldest.

Q.  Did you have an idea when you all went to the same academy that you all could be this good?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, I did not know that.  It was me, Laura, Genie, and Monica Puig ‑ and Mallory.  She was the mama bear of the group.  Now she's oldest.

Q.  What were you?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  At the time I was the youngest person.  Then Genie and Laura and everyone came.

Q.  So you were baby bear for a while?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, I'm still baby bear.  It's kind of change.

Q.  Maybe middle bear?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Now I'm the old bear because everyone is younger than me.  But, yeah, I never expected that all of us would be playing main draw of Wimbledon, all of us in the third round of Wimbledon.  That's crazy.
I think Nick did a good job, so it's okay.

Q.  What about your relationship to Wimbledon, to grass, to the All England Club?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I think my goal in life is to be a member of the All England Club.

Q.  Could that happen this year?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  It could.  It's possible.  I'm going to work on it.  I'll let you know.

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