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August 15, 2013

Sloane Stephens


J. JANKOVIC/S. Stephens
3‑6, 7‑5, 7‑5

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Sloane, Jelena said she felt like it was a tough game for both of you guys serving‑wise.  Would you agree with that?  Can you talk about how you played out there today.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, I didn't play my best and I think I didn't serve well at all, and she obviously didn't serve at her best.  So it was definitely a tough day.

Q.  Big win for you last round and didn't get it done today.  What is your overall assessment of your time here in Cincinnati looking for preparation going forward?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Good moving forward.  The goal isn't to peak at this tournament but at the Open.  Just keep working hard.  I have another tournament next week, so just build on it and keep going.

Q.  Sloane, what are the positives that you take away from the week?  Obviously a big win against Maria and this loss, but what are the positives that you take away?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Just that I got some matches.  Playing much better and doing much better.  Just going to go into New Haven with that attitude and hopefully play well there too.

Q.  You're playing New Haven.  How much more time do you need before the Open before you feel like you're pretty much there?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I feel good.  I always like to play before slams.  I think New Haven will help me a bit and just get the last little things together going into the Open.

Q.  Sharapova was asked, after she lost to you, was she maybe going to try to get another tournament in next week.  She said she never does the week before a slam no matter what, but you always do.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, I just like playing before.  It doesn't even matter where, just something.  That's helped me.
Personally, for me, it makes me feel better.  So I just go with that.

Q.  Sloane, what were you thinking at 5‑5 in the third?  Does the crowd support help at a time like that?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Definitely.  The crowd's always good, but I think I'm the one playing, so it's kind of all on me.
But the crowd definitely, it helps at a time like that.

Q.  What are those last little things you want to fine tune in New Haven?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Just like playing and competing.  I haven't played that much.  Just like coming back into playing hard courts and stuff like that.  I think just kind of finding my rhythm.  Like today I didn't serve that well.
Just little things to help me going into a slam.

Q.  Physically feeling okay?  Abs holding up?

Q.  You're starting to play a lot of bigger names in women's tennis back to back more often now.  How does that equate to your preparation for the game versus early‑round matches?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I think it's a good thing.  It's always good if you're playing top players.  That means you're far in the tournament.  Or not, maybe.  I don't know.  But I think it's a good thing, and I like it.
It's enjoyable and it's good to be able to play with the best players in the game.

Q.  Sloane, what was your reaction to the news that Marion Bartoli called it quits, walked away from it all?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Shock.  But I think it's a personal decision.  She knows what's best for her.  So I wish her all the best.  Hopefully, whatever she does, she loves it to death and has a good life.

Q.  I know, obviously, you're probably decades away from retiring yourself.  Have you ever thought about how you'd want to go out?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Not at this tournament.  (Laughter.)
I mean, no, I haven't thought about it.  But being an American, probably at the US Open or something.  I don't know.  I don't understand the whole here.  Like at least play the US Open or something.  I don't know.
But everyone has their own thing.

Q.  You wouldn't want to have your retirement dinner at Applebee's?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No.  Did she do that?  (Laughter.)  Yeah, no, I don't know.  I don't know.  It's kind of a shock, but everyone has their own thing.

Q.  Have you talked to any other players about it?  Has it been big buzz in the locker room, I would imagine, about it?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I asked Kiki because Kiki is her close friend, and she was just telling me that she told her and then Kiki was just telling me.  So I was like‑‑ I think everyone is just kind of like, What's going on?
I really don't know.  I think maybe it's a trick or something.  She's going to like come back and be like, I'm playing New Haven next week or something.  I don't know.  I don't know.  It's just shocking.

Q.  She said last night her reasoning was that everybody's going to remember her as the Wimbledon champion and not where she retired, so it doesn't matter.  Make sense to you?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  She should have just retired at Wimbledon.  That would have been like epic.  You win Wimbledon and you retire on the court.  That's like more of a dreamy situation.
But I don't know.  I guess different things for different people.

Q.  Sloane, what was it like playing Jelena?  She's been around the tour for a long time.  But playing her actually versus seeing her.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, I've never played her before, so it's interesting.  I didn't know what to expect, but she's definitely been a top player for a while.
It was good to get that first experience.  Just in case I play her at the Open, I'll know what I'm up against.

Q.  Sloane, how would you describe your mood going into New York?  Are you nervous?  Excited?  Both?  What?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Everything.  I don't know.  Every day I probably feel something different leading up to it.
But I'm excited.  I'm excited to get to New York.  I think it will be a really great slam.  I'm looking forward to it.

Q.  Sloane, are you past the stage yet that names on a draw board don't mean anything to you anymore?  You've arrived, you know you belong.  So it doesn't freak you out to see a big name on the board anymore?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, not really, because I guess when I look at a draw like next to my name is always a seed, so I'm pretty comfortable with that.
If you look at someone's name and you're like, Oh, man, I'm on that side with them, if you play them, you've already lost.
So I think just going into any tournament, whoever you're playing, you just kind of go in confident and play your game.

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