NEW YORK, New York - Last year's finalists and this year's top seeds met with the media on Friday at US Open Media Day, which was held on the court for the first time at the new Louis Armstrong Stadium. With fans in the stands cheering on their favorite players as they went through their pre-tournament media rounds, here's what the pre-tournament favorites had to say.
Note: Serena Williams was scheduled to participate in media day but she asked to be rescheduled for the weekend.
For Sloane Stephens, defending her title at the US Open isn't the end all be all:
"I think at this point I'm just trying to get better and better, trying to improve my ranking, win more tournaments, win more titles. Just because I'm defending here, I still have six more tournaments after this. The season continues to go on.
"I think that I would love to do well here. Obviously as an American, any American wants to do well here. Having good results in previous tournaments has definitely helped. I'm not waiting on all these points to drop off. I'll have a little bit of a cushion.
"Just trying to make the most of it, like I said, win as many matches as possible, to improve my ranking. Obviously there's only two places to go from 3. I'm just trying to do my best, making sure that I'm just staying as consistent as possible, having good results."
Stephens hopes she'll have a rivalry with Simona Halep. But it's not there yet (Halep has won their last six meetings). They could meet in the semifinals:
"It's not a rivalry if you don't beat the person."
Simona Halep feeling no pressure in New York:
"I don't feel the pressure. Honestly, I don't feel it. I feel it's a big chance to get some points. It's a big chance to make a dream that I'm able to win one more big tournament. It doesn't mean it's going to happen. I'm just taking this tournament as important and [I'm] relaxed."
Halep on her tough draw:
"You want to know my reaction when I heard? 'That's tough.'
"Yeah, it's very tough, very tough draw for sure. It's going to be a big challenge. Last year I lost in the first round, so it cannot be worse than that. You know, I feel confident. I feel that I have the game to win against her, but she's very dangerous. I just want to get ready for that match and put everything I have into that."
Halep on the open field:
"Definitely everyone from Top 10 can win this tournament. Every match is a tough one. I played last week and the first round was tough. I did three sets.
I don't feel that myself is up [here] and all the others are somewhere down [there]. Everybody is even, and I try to win my matches when I step on the court.
Caroline Wozniacki, who retired from her last match in Cincinnati due to a knee injury, dismisses any concerns:
"It was definitely more worrisome at the time. I'm feeling good now. I have been playing points now for the past few days and played sets and everything, and I feel great. I'm very happy with that progress. Yeah, I'm 100% now."
Angelique Kerber weighs in on Serena Williams' chances in New York:
"Serena is always a favorite. Because she won the tournament so many times. She knows how to play. She has so [much] experience playing the big matches on big stages, and I think that this is what she's looking for, to playing big matches in front of the crowd here at home.
"So we will see, but the big tournaments are always a little bit different than the other ones."
Madison Keys, a finalist last year, is ready to turn the page:
"I think I have to kind of remember it's a new tournament. It's a different year. People are playing better. I think it's going to be obviously a totally different experience for me.
"But I do have the experience of getting through a lot of tough matches and being able to use the crowd to help me through some tough moments. So that's definitely where I feel like I have that experience under my belt, and I feel more comfortable coming back into this US Open."