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September 1, 2013
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
S. WILLIAMS/S. Stephens
THE MODERATOR:¬† Questions, please.
Q.¬† How do you feel about your play?
SLOANE STEPHENS:¬† I thought I played good.¬† There were times I played some really good tennis.¬† Yeah, I thought I played pretty solid.¬† Second set got away from me a little bit, but overall I thought I played great.
Q.¬† What was the difference in your mind?
SLOANE STEPHENS:¬† I mean, obviously she's No.1 in the world for a reason.¬† I thought she played really well herself.¬† Obviously it didn't go how I wanted.¬† The second set got away from me a little bit.
All in all I thought I competed well and played well.¬† That's all you can do really.
Q.¬† What do you think you need to do to get to the next level?
SLOANE STEPHENS:¬† Just keep improving, keep getting better, working hard.¬† Obviously I'm at a pretty good point right now.¬† Obviously I want to keep getting better.
Just little things I can do to keep improving to get to the next level.
Q.¬† Do you feel you need to be or want to be any stronger?
SLOANE STEPHENS:¬† Stronger as in like?
SLOANE STEPHENS:¬† No, not really.¬† I think I'm pretty strong as it is.¬† I think when I lift too much or try to add on too much weight I feel heavy, so not so good for me.
Q.¬† Were you impressed by her defense particularly?
SLOANE STEPHENS:¬† I thought she did a lot of things really well.¬† Like I said, she's No.1 in the world for a reason.
All in all I thought she played great.
Q.¬† There is your rivalry, but let's talk about the real rivalry:¬† Nike versus Under Armour.¬† You're probably Under Armour's highest profile athlete.¬† Did Nike make an attempt to sign you?
SLOANE STEPHENS:¬† I mean, no.¬† I've been with Under Armour for a while now.¬† I mean, I love Under Armour.¬† Tom Brady is probably the highest profile athlete they have (laughter).
Q.¬† Phil Knight didn't say, Sloane, come on over and join us?
SLOANE STEPHENS:¬† I don't know.¬† I've been with Under Armour for a long time.¬† I love them.¬† I don't plan on going anywhere anytime soon.
Q.¬† Can you assess where you were last year and how your game has changed.
SLOANE STEPHENS:¬† This time last year I lost third round to Ivanovic.¬† I couldn't play the rest of the season.¬† So this tournament until December of last year, I played no tournaments.¬† I had done nothing.
This year, I plan on playing four more tournaments.¬† I'm going to try and break the top 10 at the end of this season.¬† I think that's a big jump from where I was last year kind of around 40 and kind of lingering.
I think this year has been a pretty good year for me.¬† I'm going to try to end it with a bang.
Q.¬† You looked incredibly calm, almost detached out there.¬† Is that something you work on?¬† Is it difficult to keep that really cool, poised attitude?
SLOANE STEPHENS:¬† No.¬† I think that's just how I kind of learn to process things.¬† When I'm on the court I don't want to get too up or too down.¬† I want to stay cool.¬† Sometimes it's really good; sometimes it's not so good, because you need that extra little bump.
I think it's just something that I've learned how to deal with my emotions like that and it helps me.
Q.¬† Can you see yourself fist pumping or screaming at some point?
SLOANE STEPHENS:¬† I mean maybe.¬† I mean, things happen.¬† I don't know.¬† Maybe one day.
Q.¬† You said you're going for the top 10.¬† Do you feel you also need a certain amount of patience to develop in due time?¬† You're only 20.
SLOANE STEPHENS:¬† Yeah, definitely.¬† But I have a chance to break the top 10 at the end of the year.¬† I'm 200 points away from it.¬† I have no points to defend.¬† I'm playing five tournaments.¬† I think I have a pretty good shot.¬† If I don't make that, then shame on me.
All's I can do is give 100%. ¬†As time goes on, you develop.¬† Everything happens in its own time.¬† I never rush anything in my career.¬† Now I have a goal, and I want to reach that.
Q.¬† You're the youngest in the 16 that were left.¬† Does that mean anything to you?
SLOANE STEPHENS:¬† No, not really.¬† There's a lot of things.¬† You're the youngest person left in the draw, you're the oldest, whatever.¬† There's going to be someone before me and there's going to be someone after me.¬† You know, it's nice but we move on.
Q.¬† You've been talked about as the heir apparent to Serena.¬† What is your reaction to that?
SLOANE STEPHENS:¬† I embrace it.¬† I think it's tough because there's a lot of us.¬† I think just because I'm top 20 now, I mean, next year there could be three other American girls in the top 20.¬† It just depends.
Right now I'm carrying the little torch.¬† But I'm okay with it.¬† I embrace it for now.
Q.¬† In the entire first set and a half, the intensity and confidence and focus that you had with Serena was matched like 100%.¬† Did you notice the moment that intensity changed?¬† Seemed like right at 3‑1 Serena relaxed a little.¬† I didn't know if that changed your focus towards the game.¬† Did you feel it?¬† Did it affect you, that intensity change?
SLOANE STEPHENS:¬† No.¬† I think when you get broken at 2‑1 to go down 3‑1 and the person is serving to go up 4‑1, I think they're going to be pretty relaxed.¬† I think she had some bomb first serves.¬† I lost serve.¬† That kind of threw me off.
But I think having Serena serve at 3‑1 up in the second is not ideal.¬† I think when you give her that opportunity, you know, to take that step forward, she definitely makes her move.
Unfortunately today she made her move.¬† I just couldn't get back in the second.
Q.¬† Is there any part of you that wishes you could be on the opposite side of the draw from her in a major, that you weren't constantly placed as such in draws where there she is?
SLOANE STEPHENS:¬† Yeah, it's tough.¬† But everyone has their time to shine.¬† I think she's obviously No.1 in the world for a reason.¬† She's earned every opportunity she's gotten.¬† I think she makes the most out of every time she's on the court.
Maybe one day when she's not playing people would be, Maybe I wish I wasn't on the same side as Sloane.
Things happen in their time.¬† It's an honor to be able to play on the court with one of the greatest tennis players of all time.
Q.¬† A year from now when you come back to the US Open, where do you want to be?¬† Where do you want to be a year from now?
SLOANE STEPHENS:¬† I'm taking one step at a time.¬† I'm worried about the next four tournaments of the year.¬† At the end of the year I'll assess and see, I want to do this, I want to do that, I want to do the next thing.
Until then, I know that I want to keep improving and I want to keep getting better.¬† But I'm just going to, you know, take little steps and see how it goes.¬† I want to finish out this year strong and regroup.
Q.¬† You always show up at the slams, but not at the smaller tournaments.¬† Would you agree with that statement?
SLOANE STEPHENS:¬† Like I said, there's no formula to playing great at a slam.¬† It happens.¬† I mean, I don't have a reason.¬† I don't know.
But I'd rather be able to play great tennis at a slam than make eight finals of little tournaments and then lose first round of a slam.¬† That doesn't sound too good.
Q.¬† Are you going to play mixed doubles with Jack Sock?¬† You two were simply adorable.
SLOANE STEPHENS:¬† Uhm, I messed it up so badly.¬† I played so bad (smiling).
But maybe.¬† I don't know.¬† We'll try and play in Australia and we'll see from there.¬† I messed that one up, so...
Q.¬† Are you interested in watching this match again?¬† Would you watch a replay of this match to pick up something?¬† Once the match is over, do you move on?
SLOANE STEPHENS:¬† I definitely will watch it again.¬† When I'm sitting at home in the off‑season and I don't have anything to do I watch tennis on my computer.¬† It's kind of boring.¬† It's something to do.
You learn the most from your losses, so I'll definitely watch it again.
Q.¬† Coming in here you were a little bit worried.¬† Now that you've been through it, what's your takeaway?
SLOANE STEPHENS:¬† It wasn't that bad.¬† I thought it would be really stressful, really overwhelming, uncomfortable.¬† It wasn't.¬† It was fun.¬† I had a lot of fun.¬† I enjoyed myself.
I got to play on Ashe three times.¬† I thought that was pretty amazing.¬† I think when you just relax and have fun everything's enjoyable.¬† I had a really good week and a little bit here in New York.¬† I wouldn't trade this week for anything.
Q.¬† Do you and Sock share an agent?¬† He's a big American Express guy, too.
SLOANE STEPHENS:¬† You have had the most random questions.
No, we don't.¬† But we're on the same American Express campaign, but, no, we don't.
Q.¬† Off topic, the U.S. postal office just issued a commemorative stamp for Althea Gibson.¬† As a black tennis player, do you still face stigma?
SLOANE STEPHENS:¬† No comment.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports