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By Sloane Stephens
It was an interesting first day of the US Open, to say the least. I had a nice practice with my South African friend Chanelle Scheepers, then had a fun autograph session at the American Express Experience. As first-round matches got under way and I finished my visit at AmEx, a massive downpour dropped on us. I mean buckets! We got pummeled. There was wind, rain, and leaves flying everywhere. It was pure chaos. All of us players escaped to the player lounge, but it couldn't hold everyone, so I decided to head back to my hotel. We got soaked again as we ran out to our transportation, but it was worth it.
Lunch was the best part of my day, because we had Korean barbecue at Miss Korea. Yummy! Really, I love Korean food; bulgogi and kimchi are my favorites. I know, I know, maybe it's not the most healthy thing to eat at a tournament, but sometimes I just can't help myself.
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Anytime a match is coming up, I like to eat the same meals over and over — don't ask me why, that's just how I roll! Since my first tournament at 10 years old, I've always done this . . . and my mom allowed it, so it stuck. My coaches and family get a little irritated (OK; very, very irritated) eating at the same restaurant every day, but it works for me. And yes, breakfast and dinner are always the same foods at those same restaurants. I love pancakes and eggs for breakfast, and I usually have fish or steak for dinner, with a carb.
So on Monday night, dinner was at Les Halles — the same place I ate on Sunday — but this time with my grandparents and other family. I love my grandpa (he's 86) and grandma (she's 82) so much — they make life seem so beautiful and they make me feel so special. I sat next to my grandpa, and he was patting my head like when I was 5 years old. Too cute.
After dinner, I watched some of the matches on TV. Kim Clijsters is such an amazing player and person. I'm so sad to see her retire after giving so much to the game. She's inspired me over the years through her competitiveness, her grace in every situation, and her love of the game and people. I'm gonna miss you, Kim! Don't go too far away, girl.
One absolute superstition I have is to prepare my clothes the night before I play. It just makes me feel more organized and ready to go. So I unpacked a couple of boxes from Under Armour and laid out my match clothes. Yeah! After playing a few games and checking the news (formal and gossip) on my iPad, it was time for some shut-eye.
My first match is a big one, against Francesca Schiavone, on Tuesday evening. I'm excited to start the week here at the Open. It will be tough, but I've been working hard with my coach, and I'm ready to play.
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