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March 10, 2014

Sloane Stephens


S. STEPHENS/A. Ivanovic
7‑6, 6‑4

THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please.

Q.  Becoming a late night maven.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I know.  It's not ideal, but at least I'm going to get a good dinner tonight.

Q.  Talk about the match a little bit.  Came back in the second set.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, I thought I played solid.  I mean, it wasn't my best tennis, but it was‑‑ I mean, at times it was really good.  It was a little up and down.
Mentally I stayed tough, but that's what really mattered in the end.

Q.  Anything else that you were unhappy with in your game?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, I thought mentally ‑‑I mean, mentally when you stay tough a lot of things can go wrong but you can still get it back.  I think that's what I did in the second set.  I got down an early break but I got it back towards the end and that was it.

Q.  Could you tell you were mentally tougher than her?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I mean, I was just mentally tough.  I don't know (smiling).  I'm not sure I would say that, but myself, I was pretty solid.

Q.  Can you sense a little nervousness on her part at times that can help you?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, I was just focusing on me.

Q.  You're planning this nice dinner tonight, but you have a fairly quick turnaround tomorrow, right?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I know.  Well, the other night I was eating like Cinnamon Toast Crunch for dinner.  I think tonight I'm having a regular dinner, so that will be good.

Q.  You were able to crack up Paul during that coaching timeout.  I mean, talk about your dynamic with him a little bit.  It was weird.  We saw him laughing.  We got confused.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  We got confused.  (Laughter.)  I don't know.  It's funny.  I was just telling him my stomach was hurting.  Like I was eating these dots or whatever that I just started trying, and he was like maybe we should crack open the Tums.  I was like, What?
But we talk about Tums all the time, so it was like it fit.  But it was‑‑ you know Paul.  He's crazy.

Q.  Dots like the movie dots?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, they are like little energy like things that you eat, and I've never had them during a match.  It was like a trial run, and it just wasn't ideal.

Q.  Do you see a sponsorship opportunity with Tums in your future?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Maybe.  I mean, the last week ‑‑ TMI right now, but in the last week I've have had a fair share of Tums, so maybe in the future (smiling).

Q.  One of the things that we have kind of noticed over the course of the last two matches is you have been really steady, even‑keeled, whether you're up in the scoreline or behind.  Last month there was some criticism about your attitude in the Middle East in some of those matches.  I was just wondering if you thought that criticism was fair or unfair.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I mean, everyone is going to criticize, everyone has something to say, but you have to remember I'm only 20.  I'm definitely going to go through ups and downs.  I'm just like another, you know, 20 year old that's in college or whatever.
Sometimes it's definitely tough, but there can be ‑‑there's going to be really great times and there's going to be bad times.  Sometimes you can't control like the downs, but the goods are‑‑ you know, you work hard for them, and I think these last two wins were well deserved.

Q.  Is that something you and Paul talk, attitude?  Sounds like it is because we hear him commentating on Tennis Channel about attitudes of players and things.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, I think it's really important to have a good attitude.  I mean, it's tough at times.  I just, like you and your life, you're like, I don't want to go to the store or whatever.  You know?
I think when you have like a really positive outlook it helps you with everything.  I have just been trying to do that.

Q.  Can you talk a little more like background, when you started working with Paul like what you expected him to bring to your game and how that sort of progressed to where you are with him now.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Like I said before, I started working with Paul and I had no idea who he was.  I had to Google him because I had no idea what he even looked like.  Obviously he's coached really great players, so I was expecting him to make me like super good but I wasn't sure how he was going to do it or what approach he was going to take.
So I've definitely ‑‑ he's kind of let me do my own thing and added a few things here and there, but definitely worked a lot on the mental side and staying positive and loving what I do and just being happy on the court.

Q.  Who linked you guys up?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I did Google him, but that was like the day before we were having lunch for the first time eating, so I'm not sure who‑‑ how that happened.
But it happened.  We're here.  So, yeah.

Q.  Do you ever mine his daughter for information on him?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  On him?  No, she sent me a Snapchat.  She's studying for finals in the library.  She's like, I'm watching you.  I'm like, You should be studying.  No, we don't ask information.
Paul, everything is on outside, so you definitely know what's going on.  He's a funny guy.  I can't tell you stories.  He'll be too embarrassed.  We have a good time.

Q.  I know you like your life and you've talked in the past about not missing being in college.  She's in college.  Do you feel you're a sorority of one?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I am a sorority of one.  Sloane Phi Sigma or whatever.  No, it's not bad.  I definitely ‑‑like all the things I have had to go through and traveling and being a professional athlete and being so young and having pressure and whatever, I think I kind of skipped the phase of wanting to go out and have fun and whatever.
But, I mean, I don't regret it or anything.  I think I just cut out a lot of drama in my life, which I think is ideal.

Q.  Do you think there is less drama being a professional tennis player than there would be in college?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, I think so.  Girls are full of drama.  To be in college in a sorority, that would be overwhelming.

Q.  There are 95 other girls in this tournament.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I know, but we're playing for money in a real job.  It's a bit different from arguing over boys and stuff.

Q.  Kleybanova, she hits a heavy ball.  Talk about that matchup.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  I have seen her play a couples times.  Obviously she's come back; she's playing well.  It will be a good match that we are playing later tomorrow, so I think that will be good for me.
I know she hits really flat and hits really hard.  I think it will be a good match.  I think I have to go in and have a good attitude, do my own thing, and I will be all right.

Q.  Ivanovic, losing to her twice in a big tournament, does that feel good to settle the score a little bit?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, it feels good to get that win.  I played her third round twice at the US Open, so that was kind of a bummer.
But, I mean, I feel ‑‑you know, I'm feeling better, and I think it was time for me to beat her.  It was good.

Q.  Is there a certain shot that when you hit it and you hit it clean, like start of a match, that you know, Okay, I'm on today?  Certain players say, If I hit the backhand down the line I know I'm good; my serve is clicking.
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, I have to say when I'm warming up and I'm like in the first like two rallies, if I don't miss, I say, Okay, I'm fine.
But if I go up and miss like the first few in the net, I go, Oh, my God.  Today is going to be a tough day.  I definitely base it on the warmup before rather than when I start.

Q.  You and Genie Bouchard are grouped a bit together.  Are you surprised at how far she's come in the last year or two?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, she's a great player.  I've known her since I was like 12 years old.  We worked with the same coach for a long time who she's still working with.
You know, me, Genie and Laura, Monica Puig, we all play at the same academy and we have all known each other forever.  I'm not surprised that we are all doing well.
Obviously Genie is doing better than I wouldn't say all of us, but she's had the best results this year.  So I think it's a good thing, and props to her.  People are coming after her, so I think it's a good thing.
I think it's a tough, what do you call that?  Like a wave.  Like what is it when someone is coming after you like trying to catch up to you?  How would you describe that?

Q.  A chase?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, like a chase.  Like, you know, just trying to do‑‑ whatever.  Forget it.

Q.  What advice would you have for Genie?  Basically you kind of did the same thing:  made semis at the Australian Open out of nowhere, both of you.  What did you learn from that whole experience and all the aftermath she might want to look out for?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Definitely it was tough for me.  I'm sure it will be tough for her.  She's the best Canadian player they have.  She's young, really pretty.  It will be tough.
But I think she will get through.  She has a good team.  If she ever has a question for me, I'm open.

Q.  Having more going on for you, does it make it tougher?
SLOANE STEPHENS:  Definitely when you have outside distractions it's a little bit tough.  You want to do everything and say yes to everything.  I'm sure she will find quickly that's not the way to go.

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