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May 17, 2017

Simona Halep

Rome, Italy

S. HALEP/L. Siegemund

6-4, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. We need you. We need your tennis. We need your smile. We need your happiness. We need your game.
SIMONA HALEP: Then I need to win (smiling).

Q. So now, what do you need to win? Because I see that you are improving every day. Today was tough. Very, very hot. What do you need now?
SIMONA HALEP: Actually, it's not easy. I come after a great effort in Madrid, many matches. Long matches, as well.

Today was difficult. I was a little bit nervous before the match, because it's very hot here. Everything is different. The racquet is different. I feel it a little bit tighter strung.

Yeah, I had to adjust. I had to adapt to this court, but was not easy at all today. So I'm just happy that I could win today.

Tomorrow I expect a tough match. I have just to be focused, to stay for every ball there, to be concentrated and not giving up. Just go through the match, and it doesn't matter the result. I have just to stay there and to fight for every ball. That's the most important, I think, and is the key of my game.

Q. That missed smash, we saw it.
SIMONA HALEP: I hope you didn't, but...

Q. Is it the light? Is it the strength of the sun? What?
SIMONA HALEP: I think also the people behind, and when I looked up and was all blue, I just didn't see the ball. I don't know how happened, but I felt bad a little bit (smiling).

Q. They did teach you how to smash? They have taught you how to do a smash?
SIMONA HALEP: Ah, yeah. But it was not a smash. It was more like a swing volley. Yeah.

Q. What was the most important thing today that this match was more played on your strings rather than hers? Because last time you played, it was just her dropshot, long slice, lob, dropshot, long slice. So much variation. Today it felt like you were more in control of the match as opposed to the last two times you played.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, definitely is really difficult to play against her, because she has the rhythm all the time, dropshot or just slice long. Then she hits strong the ball. Flat, then a little bit slower. So it's not easy to stay there in the match.

But today what I did I think I did pretty well to stay focused. Even if I was a little bit nervous, I stayed focused. I stayed strong.

I didn't give her time to play what she likes, so I think I pushed her a little bit back.

Q. Today the stadium and the crowd were amazing. Were you surprised to get a full stadium on first match in the morning like this?
SIMONA HALEP: Here, Italy, I always had great support. Also many Romanians but also many Italians.

It's a great atmosphere all the time, but I can say that I was a little bit surprised that at 11:00 everyone came to watch the match. Yeah, it's amazing.

But here, every time the crowd, it's unbelievable. That makes this tournament so beautiful.

Q. Next round, you said you like to run on dropshots. You could either face Sevastova...
SIMONA HALEP: The last two weeks I played only dropshots. Not easy (smiling).

Q. Maybe you prefer to face a player like Sevastova or another big hitter like Pavlyuchenkova?
SIMONA HALEP: I cannot choose now, because both of them are very dangerous and very difficult opponents. Both of them have confidence. They are playing great.

So doesn't matter against who I play. I have just to stay on my game, to stay stuck on what I have to do.

I think it's gonna be a great match, but hopefully I can play better tomorrow.

Q. What was the most important thing for you after Madrid until your first match today: Mental rest or physical rest?
SIMONA HALEP: Mental rest. I am much better than last year, and that makes me very proud, actually. Last year when I came I was stressed that I have to play again.

But this year, I really wanted. I was waiting the match. Even if it's not easy -- I have to be honest, and I have to say that it's not easy to keep playing matches, to start again the tournament.

But it has to be like this. I just want to get stronger on this part. Even if I win few matches, I have to keep going.

Q. I hear every time the same thing about women tennis. Everybody says, Oh, they just push the ball, no great personalities, you know, things like this. But when I watch matches like this, I can see different personalities, different games. So where is the truth? What do you think about personalities now in tennis? Simona Halep is one of these personalities?
SIMONA HALEP: What personalities?

Q. Is a great personality, Simona Halep?
SIMONA HALEP: You ask me about me?

Q. Yeah, yeah. Tell me what you think.
SIMONA HALEP: I cannot talk about myself.

Q. If you have a feeling...
SIMONA HALEP: I think and I hope that I am a good personality, and I am a good, like, person, but you have to ask the people around me.

Yeah. You have tough question. I don't know what to say. But I think that I am a good person.

Q. What's your gelato flavor of choice then while you are in Rome?
SIMONA HALEP: What do you think?

Q. Chocolate.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah (smiling).

Q. Have you got any chance to follow the Eurovision this year?
SIMONA HALEP: No. I couldn't. I played, no? Saturday?

Q. Do you know the Romanian song which was in contest?
SIMONA HALEP: No, but I think they were, like, No. 8 in the ranking.

Q. It's actually a good song. Do you want to listen to it?
SIMONA HALEP: Yes, I want.

(Song playing.)

SIMONA HALEP: Come on...

Q. Do you like it?
THE MODERATOR: She'll listen to it later.

SIMONA HALEP: I will answer later when I'm with Jeff (smiling).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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