THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You once said you liked and respected Azarenka so much that there was nothing anyone could say to change your mind. How does that impact your mindset going in to play a player like that?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Every match is a match against another opponent. You just kind of have to look at it that way, whether you’re friends or not. It’s not always easy, but that’s just what you try to do. That’s what I try to do, kind of just block it out.
Q. Since the US Open, is that one of your most satisfying wins, the way you played, the opponent, the whole thing? How do you feel after that kind of win?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah. I mean, obviously playing, you know, in the U.S., at an amazing tournament like this, to get a win like that is pretty — it feels pretty good.
Q. How much did your life change after you won at the Open?
SLOANE STEPHENS: It hasn’t really changed that much. Just a little bit busier.
Q. Doing publicity stuff, photo shoots, things like that?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Well, I say busier because I went from not playing tennis for 11 months to then winning the US Open, and I think everyone knows there is a lot of things that come after you win a Grand Slam, but an American winning the US Open, it’s a lot.
So I think just kind of wanting to do everything and, you know, all the amazing opportunities that come with winning the US Open. Yeah, that’s how it’s changed.
Q. I’m assuming 100% you’re physically feeling good?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, I feel good, feel fine.
Q. But it’s been tough over the last couple of months with your body, I could imagine.
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, so after Australia I was able to take some time, and I’m feeling a lot better, playing better. I got some matches in Acapulco last week. And to get a win here, it’s not easy having a bye and then playing somebody who has already played a match. Feeling good. Everything’s all good.
Q. Do you think this match can be a turning point for you after having some tough losses after your US Open win?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Well, I won some matches last week, as well.
Q. The challenger?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Not a challenger. But I think that last week was a good starting point.
Q. You won two matches last week?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah. And then to obviously win here against a good opponent helps. So it’s kind of just, like…
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, exactly.
Q. So what about the karma thing? You talked in Australia about believing in karma. Maybe you have turned things around? Did some good deeds? Why the turnaround and karma?
SLOANE STEPHENS: It doesn’t happen like that (smiling). You do good things and you’re nice to people and good things will happen to you. Keep a positive attitude, you’re happy, that rubs off on other people and the people around you. It’s all, like, an effect.
Q. So you have helped out a lot of people recently?
SLOANE STEPHENS: I wouldn’t even say that. I just try to be the best version of me and then whatever happens, happens.
Q. This morning we saw Anisimova, 16 years old, score a really big upset. Can you remember back when you were 16 and kind of imagine the wonder of it all and the excitement and what you were going through, or does that seem like a long time ago to you?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, it seems like a long time ago, but I think — I don’t know if I was 16. I think maybe I was 17 or 18. I played Vera Zvonareva on that court at night. It was incredible. It was so much fun. I didn’t win, obviously. She was, like, No. 2 in the world at the time. But for me, that was, like, the greatest thing ever.
So I could only imagine playing somebody like Kvitova on center court, as an American, that had to be amazing for her. That’s such an amazing moment for her, for her mom, super exciting.
Q. Doesn’t often rain in the desert. How did you deal with the delay yesterday and having to come back around this morning?
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, everybody yesterday was like, Oh, it’s not going to rain. It’s going to be totally fine. It started pouring.
I have been coming here since I was a kid and it’s never rained. I have never even seen, like, really clouds, like, it’s never really been cloudy. This is so — I was like, this is so weird.
I mean, it wasn’t — they didn’t keep us here that long. It was fine. We obviously knew when it started raining and the courts got soaked, went back on, came back off. You kind of have an idea that, okay, maybe we’re not going to play tonight. And since it was a good time, like, it wasn’t like we were here all night and whatever.
So I was just happy to be able to get out of here last night and then get ready for today.
Q. You obviously had a very serious injury in your career recently. Now on the men’s side one top player after another is facing a physical setback. Could you just talk about the physicality of this game? Is it, in a way, too much or over the top? Just as a player, just talk about the physicality.
SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, obviously tennis is a really tough sport. We have an extremely long season. I think that it is tough, and then the men obviously play three out of five sets, which makes it even harder.
It’s unfortunate that there are so many top players getting injured, because they do so much for the game. Obviously the guys, we miss them. I miss Andy. I miss Rafa. Those are, like, my favorite players.
Even for me, I’m not like a super tennis fan like some of the people here. But when the guys aren’t here you’re like, Oh, man, that’s kind of a bummer. So I wish them all well and I hope they come back. Even like Stan, like, I hope that they all get well soon.
But it’s just unfortunate that, you know, that’s happening on the men’s side.
Q. Are you going to play every week this year? Are you going to back off a little bit?
SLOANE STEPHENS: No.
Q. What do you want to do?
SLOANE STEPHENS: What do I want to do? I’m going to listen to my body and make sure that I can do everything possible not to get injured again and make sure that I take care of myself mentally and physically the best way I know how. Whatever schedule I play is what I play.
There’s nothing — obviously nothing’s ever set in stone. You can say, Oh, I want to play here, and then not get enough matches and you want to play a different tournament. It’s kind of up in the air. My main priority is just making sure that I’m good and just staying happy.
Q. You played Kasatkina before. I just wonder what your thoughts are ahead of that match.
SLOANE STEPHENS: Played her on clay in Charleston. I was down a match point. We played actually a pretty good match, so I think it will be interesting. Obviously the courts here suit both of our games pretty well. So I think it will be another good match, and I’m looking forward to it.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #1 by #366 at 2018-03-11 23:59:00 GMT