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March 11, 2016

Simona Halep

Indian Wells, California

S. HALEP/V. King

6-1, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You did look incredibly pleased at the end of that match. Looked almost like you were relieved maybe.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah. I can say yes. I feel good now. I'm happy that I could win a match finally. I felt really well on court. My recollection, I felt my legs pretty strong.

Everything went very well for me tonight. Serve was okay. Was not the best feeling, but was okay. It was pretty cold and was tough to warm up.

I was enjoying first and I was fighting for every ball and I was very focused that I have to give my best for every shot.

So it's okay. I change a little bit my mentality, so now I'm more relaxed on court and I just try to win every point.

Q. When have you been able to start practicing full, no pain? How long?
SIMONA HALEP: One week before Fed Cup. After I finished my treatment for my infection, nose infection, I could start to practice like full. So I have almost four weeks.

Q. You talked about changing your mentality. I know the other day you talked a lot about Andre and Steffi and things. What did they tell you about coming into this tournament?
SIMONA HALEP: That it's a good thing that I have to defend the title. Means that I won it one year before. It's good when it's happening like this.

So I have to take like a positive thing and go in there just to give my best to work hard every day and just to take the match day like a normal day.

So I'm doing this and I feel much better, but we will see. Was the first match, first round. We will see how it will be in the next rounds. Because it's not easy, but it's good that I could do the first step.

Q. What's next for you as far as where you see yourself two, three years from now?
SIMONA HALEP: Two years? After two years?

Q. Yeah. Two, three years from now, where is your vision how you see at that point of your life?
SIMONA HALEP: Playing tennis for sure. I don't know. (Laughter.) Yeah, I hope in top 10. We will see. It's tough to imagine. The life on tour, it's tough. If I will be healthy and if I will practice like I do now, yeah, top 10.

But we will see. Many players are coming, are strong, and, yeah, we have to keep going.

Q. Last year you had that French Open, Wimbledon --
SIMONA HALEP: Don't remember me, please.

Q. I'm sorry I have to remind you. You were disappointed by all that. Then you came to North America and had a very good North American summer. Is that at all similar to how you felt after Australia and then having a bit of a longer break after the Middle East?
SIMONA HALEP: No. Was different. Last year was just about the pressure. I couldn't handle it and I wanted too much from me. I wanted to win all the matches.

It was like if I did the final one year before I have to do the same thing, so it's a big mistake. If you think like this you cannot play anymore. You are very stressed.

This year I was very sick. I couldn't practice. After 10 minutes I was very tired on court. So I got a little bit scared about it, and, you know, I lost the power. I lost my legs. I lost the confidence. That's why I couldn't win matches.

Actually, in Sydney I didn't play too bad, but after that I got the infection, nose infection, and was very bad for me.

But I want to forget it. Actually not forget it but just to keep it away a little bit, because now I feel good. I eat pretty good now, so everything is good. If I can run, it's all good.

Q. There were tons of Romanians, about maybe 50 guys there, and every other word they say is, Halep, Halep, Halep. Is there a strong tie in regards to Romania? Do you have any comments? It's like, you know, I'm there and I'm going, Wow, Halep. They just love you so much. You have a lot of supporters out there.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I have a lot of support. They come everywhere to support me. That's nice.

Also, when I played in Romania it was a huge crowd coming to support me.

It's nice to see this. It's nice to play with so many people around you. But sometimes you can feel the pressure that you have to win for them. It's okay. Now I get used. I hope that I will be better soon with this one.

Q. What is your reaction to the Maria Sharapova announcement? Some players are coming in here saying they were shocked. Andy Murray was saying it's not so shocking, because there are so many athletes getting caught with this one drug.
SIMONA HALEP: For me was a shock, a little bit, because I didn't expect that.

I don't know many things because I don't want to read too many things. I heard about it. I cannot comment because I don't know what is inside. If it's like she says, it was a mistake. So she has to handle it. The people that are doing this job has to decide what she will do.

Q. A little off topic, but as far as the personnel on the court, aside from the players, do you have any particular memories of something involving a line judge or a ball boy, ball girl, just an anecdote or something that you remember that stands out?
SIMONA HALEP: Me? With someone on court?

Q. Something that happened when you were playing, funny or just interesting, that involved them.
SIMONA HALEP: Tough to remember now.

Today actually the ball kid didn't hear that I want a towel and I was very upset. Then I told her sorry. I didn't want, but was the pressure of the game.

And, yeah, but I don't have many things. Yeah, I don't remember now. Sorry.

Q. I was talking to one of the ball girls. She was saying the players can be very rude at times, because obviously you're focused on the game, not on them.
SIMONA HALEP: Exactly, and it's tough. But you have to be nice with them. They are there for us and they are helping us, so it's bad when we are upset there on court. But they understand. They know. Some of them are playing tennis, and they know how the pressure is there.

Q. Did you do that job when you were small?
SIMONA HALEP: No. I wanted once when Federer came to Romania playing Davis Cup. And the coach, ex-coach, second coach, I don't remember, I had too many -- didn't want to put me because was very dangerous for me. One day he was serving and he said no. So I didn't do this job.

Q. Because you were too small or too young?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah. I was like 10 years old.

Q. So the others were older than you?

Q. Are you looking forward to the Olympics?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah. Yeah, I look forward for mixed more. I like mixed.

You know, it's really important for our country and for me, as well, if I can get the medal. It's not easy. I know that.

But we have to believe that it's -- there is a chance. Will be nice. I played in London 2012. I had a great experience there. I liked the ceremony. It was great. I'm looking forward to it.

Q. You and Horia decided you'll play mixed at the French and at Wimbledon?
SIMONA HALEP: French, yes. Wimbledon not yet (Smiling.) Yeah. Maybe Wimbledon, as well, because we play together in the Olympics.

Q. Speaking of mixed, there are very, very few sports where men and women play together. What do you get from playing with a man?
SIMONA HALEP: Actually, I played once in New York last year, so was pretty new for me. It's tough when you have to return like a girl when the boy is serving because it's very hard, coming strong, the ball. When I'm at the net I'm not so good at the net, and when the boy is hitting the ball I'm really scared.

But I did the good job with my backhand down the line in New York, and Horia is there and handling everything, net, serve, so I just need to put the return back and to play from the baseline.

So I did okay, and I hope to improve more in my volleys for Olympics. He has to train me for this. (Smiling.)

Q. Maybe you can become Federer's partner.
SIMONA HALEP: Wow. Bit difficult.

Q. Of the four Grand Slams, I know we have already had Australia, the next ones coming up, which one do you think you can actually win?
SIMONA HALEP: Doesn't matter which one. I just want to win one.

Q. Grass? Hard court?
SIMONA HALEP: I played the final in French Open. I can say there I can play my best tennis. I won in juniors, so maybe I have the first chance there, but...

Q. The red clay?

Q. You can slide and glide? Okay.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah. Dancing a little bit.

Q. Dancing on clay? In January you said that you were thinking about maybe not training as much in Romania and training outside of Romania. Since then have you still been training, other than in Vegas for a couple of weeks, or have you still focused your training there or...
SIMONA HALEP: I have been in Dubai one week before, about 10 days almost before the tournament to practice, but, yeah, the main place to train is in Romania. I feel good home.

Q. Does it get pretty warm in Romania as opposed to -- I know Dubai is quite -- can be very warm.
SIMONA HALEP: Now is not warm. In January we were like minus 15 degrees Celsius, and now about 10 maximum. It's cold.

Q. I had a holiday in Romania last fall. I just loved it. Where would you recommend somebody go to in Romania?
SIMONA HALEP: I always recommend, but no one is going. I don't know why. It's a nice country. We have nice places. Yeah, it's tough to live in Romania because of the economy, but the places are great, really good.

Q. Sibiu.
SIMONA HALEP: Cluj, where we played the Fed Cup, it's really good.

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