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January 16, 2014

Sloane Stephens


S. STEPHENS/A. Tomljanovic
3‑6, 6‑2, 7‑5

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Long day?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, super long.

Q.  How you feeling?  Pretty proud of yourself for what you did out there?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, it was a good comeback.  I don't want that to happen again obviously.  But I thought I did good to come back when I was down 5‑3.  Played some good tennis.
Yeah, so it's good.

Q.  What were you telling yourself when she came out to serve for the match?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Uhm, I was just focusing on my returns.  I just told myself I was going to be really aggressive on the returns and really make her play for it, because it's not easy serving for a match when it's tight.  5‑4, that's never easy.
I just told myself I was going to be aggressive, play my game.  Obviously I got ahold of a few returns.  I played a really good game to break, then played pretty well from there.

Q.  When you're telling yourself to focus on your returns, like is it just focus, hit them hard, get them in?  Or is there something particular or specific that you're thinking, racquet head speed, footwork?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, just good contact.  I mean, she was serving so well.  All three sets she served really well.  She was acing me.  She probably aced me more on the second serves than she did on the first serve.  Just clean contact.
Even if I don't get it where I want to go, even down the middle was good.  Just something so I would be in the point, because otherwise I was setting it up to her and she was hitting pretty hard.
Just simple things like that.

Q.  When you went off at 3‑0 in the third because of the rain, were you thinking, Darn, I had the momentum?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, no.  I think it was more scary because we were playing through the lightning when it was like 2‑0, or the 1‑0 game.  It was lightning like crazy ridiculous.  I was like, Donna, like hello.  She left the court to go to another court.  She came back, it was 3‑0.  She was like, We're going to stop now.  I was like, The lightning is gone.

Q.  You could see it from the court?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah.  Like, yeah, it was intense.  Like that's the worst thing, to be outside when it's lightning or to be in the middle of the ocean like by yourself.

Q.  You were thinking it was going to strike your racquet?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I didn't think anything like that.  Like, It's lightning.  Where is there a siren?  I don't know.  Just kind of freaked me out.  It was weird.

Q.  Your matches are always pretty exciting.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  So dramatic.  I like to keep it interesting.  Obviously I don't like to sleep because I like going home super late.
Yeah, no, I mean, I did my best.  Sometimes it comes out very ‑‑ in a roundabout way.  I get there in the end.  That's good.

Q.  Do you like that or would you have it be boring and routine?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I think now that I'm young, I can handle all the excitement.  When I'm 25, I'd rather be, Let's just go home.

Q.  You had an incredible sequence at crunch time.  You hit a dropshot.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  The dropshot where Paul stood up and said, No.  That one (laughter)?  Yeah, that was a good one.  Practiced that a lot this off‑season, so that's good.

Q.  Talk about the athleticism in that sequence.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, it's just things I've worked on in the off‑season.  I've obviously worked on a lot of patterns, playing my game.  I think when I focus on myself I'm able to execute my shots really well.
Like I said, in that game I really focused on my game and myself, being aggressive and playing my shots.  It worked, so that is good.

Q.  What does Paul bring to you?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  He brings funny.  He's so nice.  He's great to be around.  When I have like anxiety or when I'm freaking out or whatever, he's very calm, so that's good.
And he's a good coach.  It works out well.

Q.  It seems like you had a little bit of trouble getting your engine revved in some of these sets.  Is that nerves starting out?  Your opponents are coming out more ready than you are?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Well, in my first match my opponent came out firing.  She didn't miss a first serve.  Like some things you just can't control.  If your opponent is playing really well, you kind of just have to go with it eventually.
No one is going to play that well for two full sets and beat you like that.  Most of the time it doesn't happen.  Sometimes it does.  But you just kind of got to stick with it.
I mean, today she came out, she was firing, she played really, really well.  Like I said, she was acing me second serves at like 170, whatever it is.
But, uhm, both of the matches that I played, the girls have played extremely well.  Kind of got to go with it, stick with it, do your best to get out of it.

Q.  Another young opponent next Svitolina.  What do you know about her?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I've never played her before, but it should be good, yeah.  Thanks for telling me who I play, because I didn't know.
Yeah, no, should be good.  She's around my age, I guess.  Yeah.  Yeah, looking forward to it.

Q.  The fall season post US Open wasn't some of your best tennis.  Was it just a long year?  Were you kind of waiting for everything to end?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  It was a long year, but I think towards the end I was definitely‑‑ it's hard when you want to do well but you're just so tired and mentally like drained.
I was kind of fighting, like wanting to do really well and then being super tired.  It was kind of like a bad combination.
In the end it was like okay.  I learned a lot.  If anything, I think I learned more about myself than anything.  Just traveling, being with Andrew a lot.  I don't know, it was crazy.
Like some things that happened were insane, but we definitely learned a lot and it was totally worth it.  Never been to China; never did the Asian thing.
I think it was good.  If anything, it was a really good learning experience.

Q.  Did you shut it down after the season ended for a couple weeks?

Q.  Two weeks, three weeks?  What did you do?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I took off like three‑‑ no.  I took off three weeks, right?  Yeah, three full weeks I didn't do anything.  I just like had my credit card, had my friends, just did what I wanted to do.

Q.  What's more important, your credit card or your friends?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  My credit card (laughter).

Q.  In your gut, do you think Sloane Stephens is ready to win this tournament?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, I think so.  I mean, it's going to happen in its own time.  I'm not going to rush it.  Obviously a lot of learning still left to be done.  Just a lot of improving still to come.
So, you know, I'm just working on that, working on myself.  You know, just playing and being happy.

Q.  You were talking about fatigue.  Have you thought about redoing your schedule this season compared to last season?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I don't think it was like my schedule.  It was just I had a lot of extra things to do off the court that I obviously wasn't used to.  It was a lot of back and forth, running around and doing these things and whatever.
In the end, it was all stuff that I loved to do, I wanted to do, but like it was just tiring for anyone.  Just kind of wears you down after a while.

Q.  Do you feel like your reception here in Australia was different than it was last year, when you're out?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Not really.  I mean, I don't really leave my hotel, so I don't know.

Q.  (Indiscernible.)
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Oh yeah, they're so nice.  Like they're so sweet.
But, no, everyone's always really nice.  It's kind of the same thing.  Like that court I played on was wild.  They were waiting for the Australian kid, but still, they were still there.
I don't know, they're always nice.  Yeah, I like it.

Q.  You said you didn't know who you were playing in the next round.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Don't start.  It's been a long night.  It's already 10:56.

Q.  You don't know what I was going to ask.

Q.  What?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I don't know.  Didn't sound good.

Q.  The question is, do you know if you win the next round who you're going to play?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, I do not.  And I do not want to know.

Q.  It's not often you play players younger than you.

Q.  Now you're the veteran.  Teach the teenager a lesson.
No, it's always the same.  You're always playing against someone else.  You have to play every opponent like it's do or die.  I mean, obviously third round of a slam is important, it's crucial.  You got to the third round, you've done well.
Like I said, I'll be fine.  I'm excited to get back on the court.  It will be good.

Q.  You said you were not leaving the hotel too much.  What have you been doing to relax your mind other than order room service and dream about going to Louis Vuitton?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Nothing.  I literally watch TV in my room.  Watch my shows.

Q.  What are your shows?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Nashville, The Good Wife.  Scandal.  I watch Scandal every week.  My little shows I watch on my computer.  That's pretty much it.  I don't like to do much.  Pretty low‑key.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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