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October 19, 2014

Simona Halep


ANDREW KRASNY:  Ladies and gentlemen, Simona Halep.

Q.  You were around for quite a long time as an average kind of player, and then suddenly you're a top player.  What really happened to change that?
SIMONA HALEP:  Yeah, many things happened in my life, because now I'm in the top.  Yeah, was my dream.  I started to think that I want to be professional tennis player at 14, around.
Yeah, I said that I have to, you know, work hard for my chance in this life to be a professional tennis player.  Was my dream, and I worked very hard every day.
Yeah, last year I started to play really well in Madrid.  Even if I lost in first round.  Then in Rome I did semifinals and I beat some top players.
I got confidence, a lot of confidence in that moment, and I say that I can be in the top.  And then I won few titles, and those titles made me more confidence and more positive.
I took only the positive things from every match.  So that's why I'm here now, and I'm trying just to be better and better day by day.

Q.  Physically how are you feeling after the hip?  Was it a hip injury?
SIMONA HALEP:  Yes, hip injury in Beijing.  I went home and did treatment every day, so now I feel very well.  I guess.  I didn't play match yet.
But, yeah, I feel good.  I'm practicing like normal every day, but still I have to keep the tape to protect the muscle.

Q.  And then just confidence‑wise, as you come into this tournament, I know you spoke a lot about wanting to play this tournament a lot, but it's been up and down since Wimbledon.  What are your thoughts there?
SIMONA HALEP:  Yeah, last year when I was in Sofia I said that I want to be at the biggest one, so I'm here now.  First of all, I want to enjoy it because was my goal.
I have nothing to lose at this tournament.  Every player is playing really well.  I'm trying just to be positive, to be happy on court.  My confidence is okay now.  I feel good.  I have just to try everything on court to win.
After Wimbledon I had some injuries.  My ankle, I twist my ankle and wasn't easy to recover.
But now I feel good, and I think that's the most important moment and thing right now.  So I have to take care of my body and just to play what I know on court.

Q.  You haven't played Serena all year, even though you have been right near the top of the rankings.  You'll play her here.  Thoughts on not playing her since you've been top 10 and what it's going to be like playing her now?
SIMONA HALEP:  Yeah, it's a big challenge for me to play against her.  This year I didn't.  Last time I played in Cincinnati last year, so it's a long time ago.
I just think that I have my chance in that match, but, you know, she's the best and it's really tough to play against her.
So I will try everything.  Just I want to be positive and to believe in my chance, because I think that is the most important thing, to believe in your chance and believe that your game is just close to her.
But, yeah, I don't care against‑‑ I don't care if I play against her or any other player, because all the players from here are very good.  Every match is very tough.

Q.  The finals are obviously a big tournament for you guys and everyone here is a top player.  When you approach a tournament like this, for you, do you prepare for it differently physically or mentally?
SIMONA HALEP:  No.  For me, you know, I feel prepared to play this tournament.  I just did the same things like before every tournament.  Because it's a tournament, but it's different because here are two groups.  Even if you lose first you still be here, so it's good.  It's different.
I have just to be focused, more focused, and just to try my chance.

Q.  What's the happiest moment you had on court this year, just the absolute happiest?
SIMONA HALEP:  I think semifinals in French Open when I won, because was my first final at Grand Slam and in French Open, which was my dream to be there because I won in juniors.
So I think that moment was the happiest.

Q.  And then just back to Wimbledon, different situation with the semifinal there.

Q.  When you look back on that match, is it disappointment?  Do you think bad luck?  Do you think you were outplayed?  What's your memory of that match?
SIMONA HALEP:  I think bad luck, because I had injury just at the beginning of the match.  And after that I just tried to keep very close the games and the match.
But after I lost the set, the first set, I couldn't stay focused anymore.  Just my energy went very down so I couldn't fight anymore.
I think it's bad luck, and I am a little bit disappointed that I didn't fight until the end.

Q.  After the season that you've had and playing all these big matches in the slams, what do you think is the biggest lesson you can take out of season?
SIMONA HALEP:  To take care more of my body because I didn't make maybe the right way always.  In Wimbledon I should put the tape on the left ankle because on grass is difficult always.
But I learned many things.  Just to be very positive every match and every tournament to be a goal.  For the next year this will be my dream.  To be positive and every tournament to be a goal.
Because you have to play every match, and every match is important in your career.

Q.  Do you think that actually, say, in the next year you will become No. 1?

Q.  Yes, you.
SIMONA HALEP:  I cannot say about this because I am very far to No. 1.  So I just want to take the pressure out of me, out of my body, of my mind, and just to be relaxed and to, like I said, to be focused every match.

Q.  You were very close this year.  Do you feel like you're good enough to get to No. 1 at some point?  You were No. 2.  You're getting close to No. 1.  Do you think it's close enough to you?
SIMONA HALEP:  No, I don't think I'm closer now.  You know, if Serena is still playing, she has many points.  So here the rankings is just about the points, how many points do you have.  So if I will play well maybe I will be closer to No. 1.
Still, I don't want to think about the rankings.  Just to play matches to win tournaments if I can.

Q.  Over the course of this year, have you become more comfortable with all of this, all the parties, dressing up for everything?  Is it becoming more natural to you?
SIMONA HALEP:  Yeah, now I'm more natural with these events.  It's not easy.  Before coming here I took like three dresses with me, so I thought that I go to the weddings or something like this.
Yeah, it's normal.  It's part of my life.  It's part of the top players.  So I have to enjoy it and just to be happy because something like this is happening in my life.  So is the best moment and I have just to be happy.

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