MELBOURNE, Australia - World No.5 Sloane Stephens snapped her three-match losing streak at the Australian Open, defeating fellow American Taylor Townsend 6-4, 6-2 in the first round on Monday. The 25-year-old, who made her first Slam semifinal here in 2013, was in good spirits after the win.
Until the topic turned to Andy Murray's impending retirement.
"Yeah, I'm going to miss him," Stephens said. "Honestly I think he's one of the nicest guys on tour. Everyone is always like, He's so dry, he's not funny. He's probably the funniest person on tour. I think he just didn't get enough credit. So unrecognized, like he didn't get enough acknowledgment.
"And I think now, like, I hate when somebody dies and everyone wants to be, Oh, my God, they were such a great person. And now he's retiring and everyone's like, He's such a great person. But he was great before and nobody paid attention. It's so sad.
"I'm going to miss him. I think he's been great for the game, especially for the women. He's been so supportive. Like I said before, Judy raised a good, young lad. He's been quite the guy."
"I think it's very unique that he has that sense of awareness [of the women's game]. Not everyone has that. I think we have been lucky to have someone support the women's game like he has. We would hope to get more support in the future. I hope people do follow in his footsteps.
"Yeah, we're going to miss him a lot."
Asked to recall her favorite moments with Murray, Stephens turned to Murray's sense of humor.
"I posted a lot of videos of my coaches sleeping and random people sleeping, and he would always message me and be like, It must be your great conversation," Stephens said with a laugh. "Like, literally every time. I'm, like, this guy. Yeah, that's my favorite thing about him."
Stephens was equally effusive in her adoration of Murray's mother Judy.
"In Beijing I went to one of her clinics, because I have a foundation, and her clinics, it's Miss-Hits, she does a lot of fun games and fun stuff," Stephens said. "Sometimes when it rains at the schools - my foundation has after-schools - they go into the auditorium.
"Her program would be perfect to bring the kids inside and she has stuff where you don't need tennis balls and nets and racquets and all that stuff. And when I saw her in Beijing, I legit fell in love with her. I was like I wish this was my second mom. Then when I saw her in Singapore again, my mom went, and then we both fell in love with her. The whole Murray family, I just adopted them."
"It's not easy raising a kid that plays tennis, let alone a professional, and for her to have two kids that are just over the top, I think that's pretty cool."