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August 27, 2014

Simona Halep


S. HALEP/J. Cepelova
6-2, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Talk about how you feel you played.
SIMONA HALEP: Now I feel great because I finished very fast. Outside is so hot and is not easy to play. But I played my style. I was aggressive. I started a little bit slow, but then I just wanted to make a step forward in the court and just to hit the ball and to take the ball fast. I returned her very well today. And also my serve helped me sometimes in the more important moments. I did a great job today, and I'm really happy with my game.

Q. First round is always kind of tough when you come to a Grand Slam and the distractions and everything. You get that one under your belt. Now you have kind of breezed through easily in the second round. Do you feel like you're hitting your stride right now in this tournament?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah. Like you said, the first round is always tough to play and to start the tournament, but the second round you play better. Third round better if you win the second one. Always I played better and better. Also in Wimbledon I had a tough match in second round and then I played well. I feel like I have my chance here, but, you know, every match is difficult. Everyone is fighting for her chance. It is not easy to fight to win. But I believe in my chance, and I just want to take match by match and to give everything I can on court.

Q. You were talking the other day about coming in as the No. 2 seed. I mean, No. 2 seeds are playing well to be there, but it also puts a little more attention and pressure on you. Do you feel like you're handling that well?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah. I think I handled it very well now, because first round was tough because of the pressure, but now I feel okay. I feel relaxed, more relaxed than first days here. I saw that even if I'm second seeded, it's like normal. It's like before. So I have just to enjoy the match, to enjoy the game, and just to be happy. I am here, and I think I deserve to be here because I won many matches, good matches with top players, and I did some great results. So I'm looking forward to keep this way going ahead and just to feel the ball every day and to be more confident day by day in myself.

Q. Are you as confident now as you have ever been in a Grand Slam tournament?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah. I'm more confident now like before French Open. After French Open I got more confidence because I can play also good in a Grand Slam, so it's a good thing. Also Wimbledon I did a great job. Here I'm prepared to play matches, to stay long time on court during the matches. I like to fight and I like just to take match by match and to think about the next round always.

Q. Have you had a chance to practice on the new practice courts? How does the environment for practice, the different environments for different practices on court, affect how the practice goes at all?
SIMONA HALEP: Which court is new?

Q. Their new viewing platforms.
SIMONA HALEP: Ah, yeah. It's good for the fans, I think. It's good thing that they did. For me doesn't matter because I feel great on court, and when I'm practicing I'm 100% there. So I'm very focused. It's a good thing. Like everywhere and always they try just to make something better. So they did a good job and it's great for everyone.

Q. Do you prefer to practice in private, though?
SIMONA HALEP: No. I like just to practice everywhere. Doesn't matter (smiling).

Q. What did you think when you heard about CiCi Bellis, the 15 year old, winning a match and her first Grand Slam?
SIMONA HALEP: I watched a few games yesterday, last night, so it's a really good thing for her. I'm really happy for her, and I wish her best of luck. Is not easy to manage this situation because she's very young, but it will help a lot for her career. It will be a good thing. I think she has more confidence now that she can be better than before this tournament.

Q. You have been through all of this in your early career. If you were asked, Okay, give Bellis just one tip, one advice, what would that be?
SIMONA HALEP: To be relaxed, to enjoy the tennis, and to playing without pressure. Because if she puts pressure is not easy to manage the game. I don't know to say something, advice for her, but I think this thing is good.

Q. And if you could have changed one thing in your progression, which of course has been very even, but if you could change one thing in your early career...
SIMONA HALEP: No, I don't want to change anything. It was perfect. I'm happy how I am now (smiling). Everythings are going how they have to be, so I'm happy with the way I did in the past. Now in the future for sure I will do also great job.

Q. As someone who experienced a lot of success at a young age, and you're still young, how did you handle that pressure of, you know, being a big star early?
SIMONA HALEP: I'm not very young now. You know, many players won Grand Slams at 17, 18. Now I handle very well the situation. I have experience. I played many matches. I won few titles. It's easier for me. But still, it's first time when I'm second in the Grand Slam, so it's not easy. But, you know, every day we have to learn many things. I'm very open to learn things. So I hope to manage this situation better and better tournament by tournament.

Q. So many thousands of girls want to be top stars. They try and things happen, losses or injuries or whatever. You have had this really extraordinary progression. Do you ever say to yourself either, This isn't quite as hard as I thought it might be, or, This is to too good to be true? Does it ever seem pretty amazing that you have done so well?
SIMONA HALEP: You know, last year in 2013 beginning of the year I was very injured with my back, and then I thought that is not possible anymore to be top because I couldn't play for a few months. But after the pain left I was really happy that I can play again tennis. I said I have to work to fight for my chance, because if I can play again tennis means that I have to play good and to be in the top. Is not easy when you are young, very young. Your dream is to be a champion or to play in the Grand Slams, to play on big courts. Always my father told me that he will come in the finals Grand Slam of French Open. So I did this year, and, you know, my family is very happy. I'm very happy, and everything, it's going in the right way now. I have an amazing life. I'm really happy. You know, just to enjoy it, because you never know what can happen next day. So, you know, I live now my dream. My dream came true, so I feel great.

Q. If I could just follow up, Petkovic said that in an odd way her injuries were kind of a blessing. It was good, because it gave her so much more appreciation.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah. You know, I had the only one injury with my back. From last year I didn't have any pain. I don't think too much at injuries. I just want to take day by day, to do the things, and just to be focused with what I have to do. No, I don't want to think about the ranking, the injuries, or the tournaments. Just to enjoy it, because I think that was the secret, my secret to reach the top. So I have to keep this way very strong, close to me, and to go ahead.
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