Zhuhai - Sloane Stephens insisted on Monday she wasn't
feeling under pressure despite failing to win a match since her shock victory
at the US Open.
Stephens, 24, was a first-round loser at the Wuhan Open and
the China Open in Beijing before pulling out of the Hong Kong Open.
"Throw it (the pressure) on somebody else," she
told reporters in Zhuhai, ahead of the year's final tournament in the Chinese
"Give it to Madison, give it to CoCo... Not on
me," she said, referrin to her fellow Americans Madison Keys and CoCo
Vandeweghe - who is also playing in Zhuhai.
Stephens soared back into the top 20 after her surprise
triumph in September, when she beat close friend Keys in the final.
The American had previously dropped to 957th after a long
Stephens, ranked world number 13, will now complete her
season at this week's WTA Elite Trophy in southern China.
She said separately she had no regrets this year and blamed
her recent defeats on having less time to practise since winning in New York,
adding that she pulled out of Hong Kong because she simply wasn't ready.
"When you play tennis you actually have to practise for
it and after you win a Grand Slam that doesn't really happen for a little bit
of time because there's a lot of things to do," she said.
"And yeah definitely, don't go to a tournament if
you're not ready to play."
Angelique Kerber, who has dropped from world number one in
January to 19th, also said she had learned much from her time in the spotlight.
The German, who clinched both the Australian and US Open
titles last year, said she is looking forward to a fresh start in 2018.
"There are a few things that I learnt from this
year," she said.
"If you start the year as the number one it's
completely different because everybody wants to beat you... but it was a good
experience to have."
The 29-year-old said she would focus on her fitness and
remaining injury-free in the new season, while also planning her schedule
differently to allow for more time off.
Asked if she could win another Grand Slam, she said
"this is for sure my goal".
"I know that I can do it and I know how to do it. So
for me for sure next year I will go with a completely new mind-set."