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June 9, 2017

Simona Halep

Paris, France

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. Simona, have you grown tired of talking to us yet? Because you've had to talk to us a lot over the past couple of weeks, but it's also a good thing because you've had a lot of wins. Ever since Stuttgart and since Fed Cup, things have gone pretty well. Do you still feel uncomfortable up there, or are you like, One today, one on Sunday, and then I have a break from you?
SIMONA HALEP: I'm okay. It's nice. I don't stress myself with these things. Today is a new day. Yesterday was a day, very nice day, actually. Was a great day. And today I just try to relax. Of course I'm nervous, but it's nice feeling.

But I'm waiting to go to play because if I play it will be better. But is good that I slept very good tonight and I'm fresh. I'm ready and we will see.

Q. Simona, Timea said yesterday that Jelena hit the lines more often than she expected. How can you prepare for such a match when you don't really know what's coming from the other side?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, it's tough to know what to expect against Ostapenko. She's hitting very strong the balls. But it will be similar to yesterday, so it's going to be the same plan.

But I will focus more on myself. I'm not focusing on herself too much. I just want to do my game, to be there, focused, to move well. Because I need to move very well tomorrow and to take it like it is.

It's going to be a big match, tough match. I know that she can play her best tennis. She has nothing to lose. So I'm going there and I will be ready.

Q. Hi, Simona. Winning Roland Garros and being World No. 1 would be great for you as a player but also for your country. Is it in your mind to be a pride for your people? Is it something you think about?
SIMONA HALEP: Of course, this match is really important, and I will not hide the heaviness that it has. Of course it's going to be a great thing if I can win tomorrow. But I would like not to think too much, because put more pressure.

I say always that I play well with the pressure, but now I don't need it. I just take it like a big day, a big match. And definitely I'm ready for it, because I won many matches until now.

So I have also the mentality to play this final. We will see tomorrow, but I will give my best to make happy more people at home.

Q. And just a little bit more about that, Simona. Romania has such a wonderful tradition. Ilie, Tiriac, Virginia. Just talk a little bit about the tradition of tennis in Romania and how important it is to fans in Romania.
SIMONA HALEP: I think now it's important. And since 2014 when I played to the final here, I think the tennis is more popular again in our country. Many kids are going to play.

Since Virginia, no one won a Grand Slam. So it's going to be a big thing if I will do tomorrow.

For me it's just a nice thing that I see people and also kids going to tennis. This sport is beautiful. It's very nice sport in all the ways. So makes you different, like, a person as well.

And it's a good thing. Hopefully I can do it tomorrow and be next to them, to these three people that you mentioned.

Q. Another question. Most women would be happy with one man. You have talked about having your three boys. Talk about how --
SIMONA HALEP: No, no. It was different. I said three boys, my team, no? Is about that, yes. Three boys, my team. I'm not talking about anything else.

Q. I know. I understand. But kidding aside, just talk about the interaction and particularly what Darren has brought to your game and how the break helped you in some way.
SIMONA HALEP: I think, like I said, I'm different player. I play better tennis. I move better.

And I think Darren gave me many advises, technical, and I play better tennis like opening the court, thinking more, doing much more with the ball. So I learn also to spin a little bit the ball with him. And the mentality, which is the most important thing, I think.

And the break was definitely very good. It woke me up a little bit and made me realize that I have to change something to be in this position.

I think was a great moment. And the fact that he had that power to finish, because it's tough to finish. It helped me and that's why today I'm here, and I won so many matches on clay.

Q. Simona, can you remember this day three years ago and how nervous you were and maybe how rattled you were? What were you doing on that Friday before the finals three years ago? And does that help you maybe calm down today just thinking back three years ago and, oh, my god, look at all the things I did, and today I'm taking it for what it is?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, today I'm just living the day, and we will see what is going to be happen tomorrow. I'm not thinking about anything else.

Three years ago it was, like, 50 people around me, my family, friends, everyone. So now I will stay with my team, same routine, same things, and I just want to get ready for tomorrow.

I'm not thinking that is the final. I'm thinking just that it's a normal match. But of course, I take the pressure because I like it.

Q. Another question about Darren. You talked about the mental side. It seems to me one of his messages is to focus on the task at hand. But can you tell a little bit more what he said in terms of the mental approach to tennis, dealing with all you have to do mentally on the court and off?
SIMONA HALEP: He told me many words, but it's tough to explain. He told me that I have to play every point because every point it's important at this level.

And not giving up. So when he told me that not giving up, I thought before that I'm not giving up during the matches, but I did few times. And in the most important moments, I did that. And, like, I lost the matches because of that.

And I realized that if you were not giving up during the match like I did with Svitolina, for example, you have another chance. If you give up, you don't have that chance anymore.

So this thing was the most important thing that I understood from him, and now I just try to keep it.

Q. Of course, you will race to No. 1 if you win tomorrow. Do you think this can change your perspective of the game? Maybe you'll feel more pressure, more responsibility?
SIMONA HALEP: I didn't think about that. So maybe tomorrow I will if I win, but I hope not. I hope I will enjoy more after that if it's going to happen. I don't know how it is to be in that situation, so I cannot say much.

But I hope that I will enjoy more and I will be more thankful with everything I got in this career and until now, and I will set some new goals for sure.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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