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Sloane Stephens - fourth round

Monday 1 July 2013

Sloane Stephens' press conference after her 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 win over Monica Puig

Q.  What is your reaction to Serena Williams' wish that you should win here this year?

SLOANE STEPHENS:  Uhm, very nice of her.  I don't know.  I have a couple more matches to go till that happens.

So just going to go out and play my hardest and see what I can do.

 Q.  Third set you played by far your best set of the tournament.  Do you feel the same way?

SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, I played really well.  I just started really going for my shots.  Monica was playing really well.  She was going for all her shots.  It's tough when you're playing someone who is just going for everything.  It's kind of hard to get into a rhythm.

But I think I just hung in there, tried to do my best.  Once I got my opportunity in the third set, I really went for it.

 Q.  Is there a reason why you haven't been going for your shots thus far in the tournament?

SLOANE STEPHENS:  No.  It's definitely tough when you're playing people who are just playing really well.  And we're playing on grass, so it definitely makes it a little bit tougher.

It's not that I'm like pushing or whatever.  I think just we're playing on grass; it's tough.

 Q.  We've seen players today just burst into tears upon winning, collapse on the court, dramatics.  You were so very composed.  Could you tell us what was going on inside, what your emotions were about moving on?

SLOANE STEPHENS:  Uhm, yeah, I saw Flipkens, she fell to the ground today.  You would have thought she just won Wimbledon.

No, I think everyone just has different reactions.  I think I was just kind of the whole match really calm.  I was happy to get the win, so I wasn't too like overjoyed.  But I think inside I was like very excited, but it didn't really show, so...

 Q.  What do you think you've learned about yourself and your game in getting to this point?

SLOANE STEPHENS:  I think just a lot of patience.  I have to be patient with myself.  I think just learning how to compete and like hanging in there and just battling, never giving up, just knowing that even like the little things, when you're down 30‑Love in a game, 40‑Love in a game, you can always come back.  The game is never over until the line judge is like, Okay, it's 3‑2, or whatever it is.

I think for myself, it's learning how to really battle, staying out there on the court, learning how to compete.

 Q.  What are you most proud that you've achieved so far to get here?

SLOANE STEPHENS:  Uhm, in my whole career?

 Q.  Just the last couple of days.

SLOANE STEPHENS:  Just that I never gave up.  I have been in some tough situations, like in the third round when I played Cetkovska, I lost the set 6‑0.  I had to come back the next day and play one set.  I got down a break.  I had to be really patient and will my way through it.

Today I was down like the whole time pretty much.  I had to keep fighting, really compete to be able to get the win.

 Q.  When you were talking about learning how to fight till the end, were you talking about Wimbledon or in the last year or two?

SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, just in general.  I think you learn things as you go.  No one's going to give you a match.  It's never going to be easy, especially in the fourth round of a Grand Slam.  No one's going to just hand it to you.

All the experiences I've had leading up to not just here but in general leading up to this point I think have really like been a test.  And I think I've been pretty well.

 Q.  Has that been an issue in your career?

SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, not really.  I just think it's really something I really rely on, knowing I'm not going to give up, I'm going to stay in every point, I'm going to make the other person play all the time.

 Q.  You played pretty well the last three tournaments after a streak where you weren't playing your best.  How do you stop the bleeding and turn it around mentally?

SLOANE STEPHENS:  I think just believing in myself.  I mean, it was a bad time.  I think just knowing that I am a good tennis player.  I'm top 20 in the world for a reason.  I didn't like all of a sudden snap my fingers and I got good.

I put in a lot of work, took a lot of sweat, like bad hair days, all that other stuff, to get to where I was.  I realize that I just couldn't let that go to waste.  I had to get back to work and just, you know, start working again.

 Q.  Was there a point in the spring when you thought you weren't that good anymore?

SLOANE STEPHENS:  It wasn't that I didn't think I was that good.  It was like, I'm letting myself down.  I'm not doing what I need to be doing.  I needed to refocus, regroup.

 Q.  What is your take on Serena being out this early?

SLOANE STEPHENS:  It definitely happens.  Crazy things happen at tournaments.  Unfortunate that she lost, being the defending champion.

But I think this has been a crazy Wimbledon.  Uhm, I don't know, it's definitely tough.  But I think there's a lot more other tournaments.

 Q.  Do you see yourself going all the way to the finals?

SLOANE STEPHENS:  I'm going to try.  We'll see.  I'll let you know.

 Q.  You said you were a 20‑year‑old, you can do whatever you want to do.  What do you want to do?

SLOANE STEPHENS:  I don't know.  It's crazy when you can do what you want but you just don't know what to do.  I started watching this new TV show.  I think that's what I'll do this afternoon.  I don't know.

 Q.  What is the show?

SLOANE STEPHENS:  It's called The Client List.  It's kind of scandalous.  Don't let your kids watch it.  It's pretty good.

 Q.  What is it about?

SLOANE STEPHENS:  You don't really want to know (laughter).

 Q.  Marion Bartoli.  Can you describe your thoughts about the challenge in the next round.

SLOANE STEPHENS:  Definitely will be tough.  She plays really well on grass.  She made the finals here.  Obviously a really good player.

I'm going to have to go out, do my best, compete, give 100% and see how it goes.

 Q.  What about the styles?  Can you describe her style versus yours?

SLOANE STEPHENS:  She hits really flat, really hard.  She goes for all of her shots.  Like I said, it's tough playing someone who is going for it all the time.  You kind of have to adjust, you know, just do your best really.

 Q.  You spoke at the French Open about that being your favorite tournament.  Wondering what success at Wimbledon means to you as a tennis player and maybe what memories you might even have of watching Wimbledon as a kid.

SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, I think this is the ‑‑ everyone loves this tournament.  This is just like it's a dream to be here, I think.  I mean, I'm really excited just to be in the quarters here.

It's my first time making the final eight.  I'm really excited.  I think somebody asked me the other day my first experience watching Wimbledon.  It was when I watched Venus play Davenport.  They had like that epic final.  I was probably like ‑‑ I don't know...

 Q.  2005.

SLOANE STEPHENS:  Was it?  I don't know.  I was not good at tennis then obviously.  I was a nonfactor.  So it's crazy just thinking that I went from watching that to actually here in the quarters.

It's definitely crazy, but it's good.

 Q.  How much did it help to cut back some of the other distractions that have sort of taken over your life since Australia?

SLOANE STEPHENS:  I don't know if I really cut back any.  I think I added some more like bad ones, but I don't know (laughter).

Some of the things that you have to do, they're a drag.  I think they make you tired.  You don't want to do them sometimes.  It's kind of like it makes you want to stick your tongue out and be like, No, I'm not doing it.

I've learned now that sometimes you've just got to stick to what you're doing and learn how to say no.

 Q.  You've had such consistent, impressive results in these recent slams.  Do you consider yourself a big‑match player?  Is there anything about the stakes and the setting that affects you in a positive way?

SLOANE STEPHENS:  Uhm, no.  I think everyone asks like, Why do you only play well in the slams, whatever?  I mean, I don't know.  It just happens.

 Q.  Do the stakes feel any different for you coming into this quarterfinals than when you made the quarterfinals in Australia?  Does this feel like more of an opportunity?

SLOANE STEPHENS:  I wouldn't say that.  You just take one match at a time obviously.  Anyone you play at this point is going to be really tough and they're going to give 100%, go out and compete.  Obviously I'm going to have to do the same.

If the draw is open, if the draw is not open, I have to focus on who I play next, going from there really.

 Q.  In terms of how you measure your success for the rest of the way, are you going to be tougher on yourself this time?

SLOANE STEPHENS:  No, I'm just going to go out and play hard like I always do.

 Q.  Growing up watching this tournament, you talked about the quarterfinals, maybe semifinals, how much of your task is dealing with the occasion as well as the opponent from here on in?

SLOANE STEPHENS:  The occasion?  Playing a Grand Slam, every occasion is big, every quarter is big, even if you're playing like Timbuktu Court, Aorangi.  It's a Grand Slam, so you have to go out and play your best.

Even if we played on the practice courts at Aorangi, it's still a Grand Slam.  Go out and play hard.  I'm looking forward to it.  I'm excited.  Hopefully give a good match and have fun.

 Q.  Centre is different?

SLOANE STEPHENS:  Am I playing on Centre Court?

 Q.  You could be.

SLOANE STEPHENS:  I don't know.  Maybe.  Who knows.  We'll see.

 Q.  Let's say you go back to your place and your phone is ringing, you pick up and it's Mrs. Neumeier.  She says, Tell me about your fortnight at Wimbledon.  What do you say?

SLOANE STEPHENS:  I don't know.  She probably would not ask that.  She'd be like, Oh, my God, did you see so‑and‑so?  Your dress looked so pretty.  There would be no ‑‑ not a good conversation.

 Q.  You always seem so refreshingly honest in interviews.  Is that the way you are in your life?  How would you describe your personality to new fans?

SLOANE STEPHENS:  Yeah, I mean, I'm pretty much the same all the time.  I don't know.  You should ask my mom and my friends, my agents.  They're around me a lot more, so they can give you more details.

 Q.  What would your mom say about you?

SLOANE STEPHENS:  She better say good things (laughter).  Who knows.

I don't know.  You'd have to ask them.

 Q.  Serena says she thinks you have a really good chance to win the title.  Talk about that.

SLOANE STEPHENS:  Thanks.  Still, like I said, I have a ways to go.  We'll see.  I'll let you know.

 

 


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