Roland Garros

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Paris, France

Sloane Stephens

Press Conference

S. STEPHENS/K. Muchova

6-3, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What's your sense of where this high quality is coming from? Did you see it coming for a while, or are you surprised by it?

SLOANE STEPHENS: No, I think obviously, like I have said before, I took the time to get myself together, find what makes me happy on court, and kind of find my groove back. Obviously results didn't happen right away, but I knew eventually things would connect, and it's nice that obviously since Charleston they have started to come together.

Q. Do memories of 2018 come back to you? It's pretty impressive this is the seventh time you have reached the last 16 here at Roland Garros.

SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, definitely. Obviously 2018 was a great year, but I think obviously even before that I think when I was, you know, my first big fourth round or whatever at a slam was here, and obviously consistently making fourth round here has been kind of a staple for me, which has been great. Obviously one of my favorite tournaments of the year, so peaking here has always been really important.

Obviously, yeah, 2018, but I think just the consistency of always doing well here has always brought back good memories.

Q. It looks like sometimes things just click for you and you go on a really big winning run. What happens? What do you do? Is it a feeling when you wake up in the morning, on the practice court, during the match? What is it?

SLOANE STEPHENS: I think it all happens in practice. Like leading up to the tournament I'm a big believer in everything happens before you get here, and then when you get here it's just time to get down to business.

I think for me putting in the time, obviously since I came back from Australia I've obviously been putting the work in physically and on the court. It kind of takes a while to get that back I feel like and get back to where you want to be, but I think now it's obviously -- like I said, since Charleston, it's started to come together a bit.

Not all of the most amazing results that I have wanted to have, but slowly, like, getting back and building to where I want to be.

Q. There are so much American girls who perform in this Roland Garros. I think you are 7 in the top 30, 16 in the top 100. How can you explain it?

SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, I think obviously American women tennis is in a really great place. I think we all are having good results and everyone is playing well.

Obviously, you know, it's different. I think we're all friends. We're all very friendly. We all support each other. We all love seeing each other do well, which I think is really nice.

It's great to have so many, you know, players in the top 100, just because we're just a super-strong nation right now. I think that's also very cool, super-strong Fed Cup team. Everything that you would think of, we have, so I think that's really cool.

Q. You mentioned things coming together and sensing a difference since Charleston. Do you sense a difference even since, I forget whether your first match was Monday or Tuesday, third set, things were really sort of on a razor's edge and now you have two straight-set wins? Are you even different in the last five, six days?

SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, I think obviously that confidence and belief kind of comes back. Obviously, like I said, having consistent results here before, like I know that I can perform well here.

Obviously the first match was pretty special obviously playing Carla, and there was a lot of nerves involved just because she hasn't been playing, and it was definitely a moment. But I think in general, just like finding my way back, fighting back in that match obviously gives me confidence for these last two matches which have been good.

Yeah, so I think it's just a day-by-day thing and you try to believe and build as much confidence as you can for yourself and just let the dots connect.

Q. Have you ever been to the Czech Republic? I ask that, because if you haven't, you certainly are finding a way to meet the people. Next round will be third straight Czech.

SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, definitely. When I was, I think 14, we played in Prostejov, we won the 14 and Under World Junior Championships. That was the first time I went to Czech. I think we beat -- I don't know. No, we beat France in the final. We beat Kiki Mladenovic.

But yeah, a lot of Czech players. Excited to play another Czech in the next round (smiling).

Q. You talk a lot about mental health after first match. I remember something you made last year when you gave a phone number to talk about which friends was struggling with mental health. What do you take from that experience you had?

SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, I obviously, like I've said before, I think mental health is very important. Mental, physical, emotional health, I think it's all very important obviously for everyone because we have just gone through a pandemic and life has been very different and very difficult. Everyone's faced their own struggles in different ways and everyone has handled it differently.

I think it's really important to be able to talk to people, talk to someone, just about, you know, what you're feeling, what you're going through, because it's not -- you know, it's not easy to just pretend that everything is great when it's not, because we know that everyone has struggled the last, I guess, year and a half, however long the pandemic has been.

So, yeah, I think it's always important to talk about how you're feeling and where you can make some changes and make yourself feel better and take care of yourself. So, yeah, I think it's definitely top priority for everyone, not just tennis players but also you guys who are dealing with just life in general.

Q. There is more and more awareness about mental health now. Do you think this is a subject that's been neglected for far too long and that there is a lot of catching up to do?

SLOANE STEPHENS: Oh, absolutely. I feel like it's not spoken about enough. I feel like a lot of players on our tour suffer in silence. And I think that is not cool and not fair and we should definitely approach it differently, because obviously, like I said, everyone deals with things differently and in their own way. The more support, the better. I think not only for us girls supporting each other but for the tour to be able to support us in different ways is super helpful.

And obviously we live in a world where there is the Internet and there is people saying, you know, you're being a baby, all these things that creep into your mind. I think as a tour and as, you know, what do we call each other? Not competitors but -- what's the word I'm looking for? Colleagues. There you go. As competitors and colleagues, I think it's important to support each other just because honestly on the road every single week we're really all we have. Like we're the same faces that we see all the time.

So I think it's super important to be able to support each other through, you know, the ups and downs, because obviously tennis is super emotional.

Q. You said in the past how much you enjoy Paris and Roland Garros. Obviously the situation for players is very different this year. Could you just give us a brief insight into what your experience has been like off the court in Paris this year?

SLOANE STEPHENS: Yeah, it's literally just been the hotel and here. I have gone for one walk, I've used my one hour a day once. I'm very much like an in-the-hotel-room type of person. I have been doing a lot of face mask.

Yeah, just enjoying myself in my room, talking to my mom and my family a lot. Just keeping it chill. Obviously I have been on the road now for six weeks, five weeks, six weeks I think it is, so, you know, you kind of get into a routine of being in your hotel all the time and being in these bubbles, so it's kind of just like normal. You kind of just find what you like to do and watch your shows, do whatever you like to do in the room, and then come to practice and go to the hotel. Then repeat, pretty much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
108386-1-1063 2021-06-05 12:17:00 GMT

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