NEW YORK, NY, USA -- When Sloane Stephens summoned her scintillating skills on the court in the 2017 US Open final, it was only the beginning. The newest Grand Slam champion followed that up with another overpowering performance in the press center.
Please find below some highlights of an emotional moment...
On coming back from her 11-month absence due to injury to this moment:
"When I had surgery, I was not thinking that I would be anywhere near a US Open title. Nor did I think I was going to be anywhere near the top 100. I was worried about my protected ranking, and I was worried about using my protected ranking to get in here. I used both of them already for Grand Slams and tournaments and to be able to play. I was thinking about all the wrong things.
"Once I kind of let that go and just realized that whatever is meant to be is going to be, that I worked hard to get here and, you know, that's that, then I think a lot of that stress was relieved and I was able to just play free and run and compete and just get out there and get after it every match. I mean, there is no words to describe how I got here, the process it took or anything like that, because if you told someone this story, they'd be, like, That's insane."
On how the perception by her peers will change:
"If anything, I'm still working my way back. I mean I just happen to be - my ranking is a little higher, but if you think about it, five weeks ago, I was like, 900-and-something, wasn't really a threat. I'm just going to keep going with that and ride that wave for as long as I can."
On her overnight nerves:
"I think I just had a long time to think about playing in the finals of a Grand Slam, like a full day. I was literally in my room twiddling my thumbs, like, looking at, like - I literally was looking at car reviews last night on Auto Trader, like literally. That's how bored I was. I didn't have anything to do. I don't really want to call anyone, don't want to call friends or anything. They will be, Oh, you're in the finals. So I was just, like, Let me just sit here and do nothing...I was just looking at safety reviews, honestly. That's kind of weird, but that's what I was doing."
On the support of her mother:
"Obviously my whole life, my mom has been very supportive. She's been in my corner the whole time, and I have had, you know, a lot of ups and a lot of downs and some really low downs. And throughout that, my mom has been there 100% with me.
"I think for her to be here and just be able to support me - she hadn't come to any tournaments before this one, so, I mean, I think it was just, you know, a good two weeks for her, two weeks for us. It was nice that we got it right for the two weeks, and I came out with the title."
On how her summer run has affected her educational goals:
"First of all, I'm totally not going to graduate. I haven't done any work for two weeks. I don't think I'm going to make it. My graduation date is December 14th, but I don't think that's going to happen. My professors actually texted me, so maybe they'll let me, you know...slide."
On hitting only six unforced errors in the match:
"I made six unforced errors in the whole match? Shut the front door. I don't think that's ever happened to me before. Oh, my God. That's a stat. Snaps for me." [snapping fingers]
On watching footage from her championship in the future:
"I think it will be super cool. I think one day I'm going to be able to show my kids that I won the US Open. That's cool. Like, how many people can say that? Not very many. And they already engraved my name on the locker. Like, hello. This is awesome."
On dealing with the long road back from her injuries:
"I had surgery. I was nonweight-bearing for 16 weeks, so I couldn't walk, put no pressure on my foot. I had on a peg leg, on crutches. Yeah, I don't think - there is no positive to not being able to walk and not being on one leg. That's not fun for anyone. So I think I took it all in stride and I just tried to stay as positive as I could, knowing that one day I'd be playing again and things were going to be better. But that's all I really had to look forward to was just being able to get on the court again."
On her motivation to win more Grand Slams:
"Girl. Did you see that check that lady handed me? Like, yes. Man, if that doesn't make you want to play tennis, I don't know what will."
On when her 2017 US Open championship status and trophy will sink in:
"I don't know. It's probably going to take a couple weeks, months, I don't know. It's like so not real. I feel this is a dream. Like, am I just going to wake up and be, like, it didn't happen? I don't know. Look at that thing. That's incredible. I mean - I don't know. I just think it's very cool. It hasn't sunk in yet, but hopefully in a little while once I, like, am able to lay down and relax and think about it, I'll realize that I really am the US Open champion."