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May 16, 2017

Simona Halep

Rome, Italy

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. There has been a bit of a controversy regarding Nastase presenting the trophy in Madrid. Do you have an opinion about it and everything that happened?
SIMONA HALEP: We have talked a lot about the subject already, and the people from ITF, they will know what they do there and they will do, and I don't want to comment about the fact that he wasn't on the stage, but I have my personal opinion that it's just because me and Ilie, I always admired him and respected him for what he has done in tennis. For me, it's like the best player in Romania, in history, and I was happy that he was coming to my matches and supporting me.

I love to have him around, yeah, but this is my personal opinion. Nothing with the decision that ITF took. They will know what they will do in the future about the fact that he was on the court.

Q. You won Madrid last week. You're coming here as the favorite. How does that make you feel?
SIMONA HALEP: Who makes me favorite here (smiling)?

Q. I mean, you're favorite for French Open. I guess you're favorite also here.

Q. I mean, at least for the book makers.
SIMONA HALEP: No pressure, yeah. I played well in Madrid like last year and like few years ago. I feel confident, of course, but it's another tournament, another matches, and I'm not thinking about winning here. I'm not thinking that I'm the favorite. I'm thinking just to recover fast, to be ready tomorrow, and to win my matches.

Q. How are you feeling in terms of your recovery coming from Madrid over here rather quickly and having a pretty tough opener tomorrow against someone you have played just a few weeks ago?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah. I feel much better than last year, because I was in the same situation and last year I was too happy, let's say, and I was down with the energy for playing again, but now is different. I feel different, and I'm ready to start this tournament.

Of course it's going to be tough tomorrow. I know her pretty well, and I have to run to the dropshots. So I will make everything possible to get ready tomorrow and to win the match.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about the game of your opponent? She's a little bit tricky. You are down in the head-to-head. She said probably you would want to beat her so badly. I mean, is that true? Do you have some kind of feeling of revenge going into this match?
SIMONA HALEP: I can say, yeah, revenge, but she beat me just in Stuttgart. She's playing really well there, and yeah, she feels unbelievable there. I mean, she's home.

But, yeah, it's another court. It's different, everything. We'll see tomorrow. But, yeah, I would like revenge, for sure (smiling).

Q. And speaking about tricky players on clay, maybe en route to this tournament, maybe in the French Open, there are some names that you would like to avoid, maybe are not high in the ranking but they are tricky on clay?
SIMONA HALEP: If you ask me this now, it's impossible to answer. There are many tough opponents. I can lose to some of them like which they have tricky games, but still, I'm not afraid and I'm not thinking to avoid someone.

If you are good and if you win a tournament and if you deserve to win, you have to play with all of them, all the types of games.

So I'm not avoiding and I'm not thinking to avoid anyone. I just go and play with anyone I pick at the draw.

Q. Maybe you don't like dropshots and just play with...
SIMONA HALEP: I like dropshots. In the last week, I did some good ones, no? Is true, okay.

Q. You said that after Miami you and Darren, your coach...
SIMONA HALEP: You have tough questions today for me. Ilie and Darren. Okay.

Q. Sorry.
SIMONA HALEP: It's okay.

Q. Well, can you go through -- I know maybe it's personal, but if you want, you can tell us.
SIMONA HALEP: No, I don't want to talk anymore. I said what I had to say.

It was a good period in the end and changed me a little bit like a person on court, like attitude, and for this I want to thank him again.

Q. My opinion, was an amazing match in the final in Madrid, you and Kristina. Is this your opinion too? And how much is difficult don't have problem with your racquet when you put away on the ground, like in the final. Like tough moment of the match you put away the racquet? It's so difficult to remain concentrate, and for you is a way to put away your stress in that moment in the match?
SIMONA HALEP: Okay, for first question, yeah, I agree with the fact that you said it was a great final. In my opinion was, too. It was a tough, high standard of playing. She played really well. I did, also.

The second one, I try to change that. I don't like when I throw the racquet away, but sometimes just comes (smiling). So I control much better this thing, but I want to control maximum. So I'm working on it. Is not nice for a girl, actually, to throw away the racquet, but like I said, is my personality and I have to calm down when I feel that.

Q. You probably say you don't compare yourself with the past, but you won again Madrid and it's your third final. Can you compare your level between this year and the previous clay court season in terms of confidence or game? Do you feel like better, higher standards?
SIMONA HALEP: I feel better and I feel stronger, also mentally and physically. The game, I don't know if I changed much, but definitely I see different a little bit the game, and I'm watching more the opponent now.

Not much has changed, but still, I feel different and I feel I'm older one year, so has to be something different.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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