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August 7, 2013

Sloane Stephens


S. STEPHENS/M. Barthel
6‑3, 4‑6, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  How do you feel since D.C. from the hot weather to much fairer weather here?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Um, it's‑‑ I mean, it's all the same, I think.  Just today it was like raining, and then it was hot and then it was windy.  I think every tournament the conditions are going to be a little crazy, so you've just got to kind of deal with it.

Q.  You said in D.C. that you were struggling with your strokes, and here it looked well.  Is the difference the ball or you just feel better generally?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I'm just feeling the ball better.  I just needed to get a good week of practice in and just be a little bit more consistent.  I think I practiced well, had a really good practice week, and then, you know, when I got on the court I was pretty ready, I felt a lot better, so I think that shows on the court.

Q.  Just talk about the mentality against her.  She's a little bit up and down, has a lot of firepower.  At times you were aggressive; at times you were trying to play steady.  Talk about how the match progressed.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, definitely she's obviously a really good player and played some really good points.  Sometimes I think there was a couple of games where when she was serving and she would be down and she'd hit like an amazing first serve and first volley, so it was definitely tough.
I thought I just had to kind of stick it out, and I was able to play some good points.

Q.  You played enough three‑setters this year and last, so going into the third set what were you thinking?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I was up the whole time, so it was not, I shouldn't stress too much, but I was feeling good, not playing bad, but I had a shaky game at 4‑All.  I felt okay about that, and I felt if I just hung in there I'd be okay.

Q.  Playing Radwanska, talk about that.  It's an entirely different matchup.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, should be interesting.  I played her last year in Cincinnati.  We played pretty close.
I'm excited.  I mean, just another match.  I'm playing better and better, so I think it will be good to get out there and just compete and play more.

Q.  So what's the key against her?  She plays entirely different than a lot of players on the tour.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, I just have to stay solid and play my game, most importantly, and hang in there and be mentally tough.

Q.  When you played her last year, were there times you were thinking she's hitting way too many trick shots here?  Too much off‑pace?  I wish she'd just stop it?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I think she did hit a lot of dropshots, I think.  I think once you start playing and you're like deep into like the match, it's kind of like you're expecting that, like you know like when it's going to come.
So it's not that hard, but at the beginning you're like, Um, yeah, this is a little hectic.
No, I think just getting into it, I think it will be good.  I'm excited.

Q.  Cast your mind ahead a few weeks and talk a little bit about how you prepare yourself for the media focus, for one thing, that is going to surround you at the US Open as a comer that they have been waiting for for a long time since there aren't a whole lot of American men to pay much attention to.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I think it will definitely be crazy but something that anyone I think looks forward to.  It will be like this except the whole room will be full, I guess.  That's just kind of something you'll learn to deal with.
Serena is still playing, so they will have someone to look forward to.  Yeah, I'm not too worried but I'm excited.

Q.  Do you like that kind of intense focus?  I mean, some people play better, work better when they can sort of be in a bubble as opposed to having to carry the burden of expectation.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, I think it's just kind of, you have to ‑‑that's just what comes with it.  If you want to be a professional tennis player, you have to get used to everything that comes with it, and I think it's definitely tough to deal with it and hard to find the right balance.  But once you kind of get used to it, it's just like an everyday thing.

Q.  What's your reaction to the decision by the tournament operators to bring in the men who lost in the first round from Montreal to play matches here?  It's as if they think they need more entertainment value or something that they're not getting out of the women.  Did you hear about that, that they were bringing them over?  As far as I know there are three.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No comment.  I have no idea what you're talking about.

Q.  You don't know?  Haven't heard about it?

Q.  They are bringing over men who lost in the first round.

Q.  To play matches here.

Q.  Does that suggest to you that they might not think there is enough of an entertainment value to the women?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No.  I mean, I think sponsors just want to see more people play, more matches, I don't think it has anything to do with women not being entertaining.  I think we're very entertaining.
So I think it adds something to the tournament.  I guess it's nice to have boys around.  I don't know.

Q.  Not to keep this subject going for too long,  but what are your thoughts on first‑round losers from this tournament have not been invited to play in Montreal?  What are your thoughts on that?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I mean, I don't know.  Either way, it really ‑‑are they getting paid to come here?  Like...

Q.  There is prize money, yes.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  There is prize money if you lose there to come here?

Q.  More.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Is it a tournament or something?

Q.  Invitational, yeah.  They just made it up as they go along.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  They should have like a consolation here then or something.  I don't know.  Like back draw or something for the women's.

Q.  I can definitely understand your desire to sort of avoid making any statements about issues or creating controversy or anything, but do you think there are some issues like this one where not saying anything or saying it's okay is in some ways worse and more controversial than actually speaking up?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, because if it's something I feel like needs to be spoken upon or something that I really have an opinion on, I'll tell you.  But honestly, this men come here has no effect on me; not adding to my prize money and not taking away from my prize money, not giving me any points.  Has no effect on me whatsoever.
So it's kind of something that's just ‑‑it is what it is.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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