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DUBAI DUTY FREE TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS


February 17, 2014


Sloane Stephens


DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

L. SAFAROVA/S. Stephens
6‑3, 7‑5


THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  How is the wrist doing?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  It's okay.  It's getting better.

Q.  Like what percentage better, would you say, 100%, 80, 60?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Just better.

Q.  You haven't had that much success coming to Doha and Dubai.  Can you just talk about why do you think that is?  Is it jet lag?  Is it just playing somewhere very different than where you spend most of the year?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, I think it's just something I need to work on.  I obviously need next year to try to do better here, and that's what I need to do.

Q.¬† Can you talk about the match today?¬† It looked in the second set that ‑‑ I think you broke her toward the end.¬† Just talk about mentally how it was for you and what made the difference in the end.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  It's always tough losing to a great player.  It was a tough match.  She played really well.
I didn't really get a great rhythm, and she was playing good tennis in the end.  She was playing a little better than me today.

Q.  What went into the choice of Paul?  Is he here with you?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, he's not here.  He's at home.

Q.  Are you still working with him?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yes.

Q.  What made you go on to him?  What do you think he could offer you?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  He's a great coach, obviously, and at the time I was coachless.  So definitely he's based in LA, a great coach, great guy.  He knows a lot about tennis.  I think he can help my game a lot.  I think it was the right choice for me.

Q.  To this point, what's been the better tips he has given you?  Not necessarily of your game but just in general.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Just everything.  Really, he's helped me with everything.  We have made some good progress so far, and hopefully we will keep building on that.

Q.  Is there a little part of you that wished that maybe last year, not that you didn't do as well as you did, but didn't make such a splash, that you could have gone under the radar a little more?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  At the end of last year?  What do you mean?

Q.  No, at the beginning, your whole last year with the Australian Open semis and everything, maybe not making such a splash in like the news and everything, more under the radar?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I think either way it probably would have been the same.  I think in all aspects, I think being obviously American, it's a much bigger deal because sports is really big in the U.S., and either way I think the whole thing was a learning experience and it was what it was.

Q.  What do you feel you learned?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Just a lot, different experiences and different life experiences, really.  It's been a long road.
Last year was a really long year.  It was tough towards the end, but I came through like a champ, and I think I did pretty well.

Q.  How do you compare your mindset now to a year ago when there was this huge media attention and everything after Australia, and now that you've been consistently doing well in Grand Slams, do you feel that mentally you're stronger and different now compared to a year ago?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, definitely, but I think it's still the same.  It's still the same attention.  It's still, you know, it's still very taxing, I'd say.
Actually, this year and last year I'm in pretty much the same exact place I was last year.  It's not that bad.  It's still building, and hopefully keep improving.

Q.  Genie is following a similar path that you did last year here.  Has she talked to you at all about it or anything?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, not at all, no.

Q.  There aren't that many players in the top that are as young as you are, so do you feel this generation gap makes you a bit detached than everyone around you, or is it lonely at all on the tour for you?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  It's definitely lonely.  Obviously it's long weeks.  It's obviously a long time away from home and stuff, but I think being younger, maybe, I don't know, but I think everyone kind of keeps to themselves anyway.
You have this close group of friends, but it's definitely tough just being on the road.  It's like basically it's a traveling job.  You know, some weeks are better than others, but you've just got to push through them.

Q.  Without Paul here, and you said everybody sticks to themselves a bit, so after a day like today, how would you just make yourself feel better or put the things into perspective?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  My life is good.  I have a really good life.  Some days, you're like, This sucks, my life sucks, but it could be way different and I could be in a completely different situation.
I'm just thankful for everything that I have, and it's nothing to be, you know, too down about.

Q.  What's next?  Indian Wells?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yep.

Q.  Would you stick around here for a day or two to hit with players, or are you leaving right away?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, I'll go home.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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