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June 26, 2017

Simona Halep

Eastbourne, England

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How is it going?
SIMONA HALEP: All good (smiling). Happy to be back on tour.

Q. How long did you take off after the French to reset?
SIMONA HALEP: One week. Full week. Seven days.

Q. Nothing? No hitting, no nothing?
SIMONA HALEP: No, I did running. Some gym. Just a little bit to keep the body fired up (smiling). But no tennis.

Q. The body is fired up. How's the mind?
SIMONA HALEP: Good. I'm relaxed. I'm ready to start again. Still sad, but it's normal.

I still have, before going to sleep, some thoughts about that final, but it's good and keeps me, like, on the toes, how you say it.

Q. Motivated?

Q. What are your thoughts about that final?
SIMONA HALEP: Many (smiling). The only one, very tough thought, is set 3-0 that I couldn't take that game. I had so many break points. Now I'm thinking that I should have hit that ball, the return, the second serve, and just go for it. But I didn't. So that one is killing me, actually.

Q. Do you think you were affected by how close you were to the big prize?
SIMONA HALEP: If I was affected or what?

Q. Affected by how close you were to the...
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I can say I'm affected because I was very, very close this time. Also in the third set. But I think that she played really well after that. She didn't miss anymore, and she hit it very strong.

I think I did it well, but those returns I should have gone for it. This is the only one regret, let's say.

Q. What was that week like, I guess, the week off?
SIMONA HALEP: A few days home chilling, and then I have been to the holiday four days, actually. And then I came back and started to play tennis. I missed tennis, actually.

Q. Did you enjoy the week or were you bummed?
SIMONA HALEP: First few days home were tough. I didn't enjoy much. But then in the holiday I enjoyed a lot and I relaxed myself there. It was good idea to go to the holiday.

Q. Where did you go?

Q. On the beach?

Q. After a match like that, is there anyone in particular you would speak to talk through about what you learned from it outside your team at all?
SIMONA HALEP: No. I didn't. I just stayed in myself, putting the thoughts in the right way. I took the positives. I had a great clay court season. Many matches won against good players. I have nothing to complain about. Just that next time if I would be in the same situation to be more brave.

Q. Did Darren have thoughts?
SIMONA HALEP: He was home, so we didn't talk tennis, if you ask me about tennis. He's coming today. We start today to talk again tennis.

Q. How do you make the decision, then -- I mean, I think a lot of people would have understood if you didn't play a tournament before Wimbledon. So you took a wildcard into here. What was the decision process there?
SIMONA HALEP: Last year I did the same, because I was injured in Birmingham so I didn't play. I was not scared that I will not play a tournament before Wimbledon, but now I felt that I'm ready. I felt that I want to compete again.

I ask for a wildcard, and I really thank the tournament director for giving me. It's a nice challenge, I can say, nice like I have just to go and play. I know that it's going to be tough on grass first matches, but I'm here just to give everything I have and trying to win matches, if it's possible.

Q. How do you think Ostapenko will cope with the extra pressure now coming into Wimbledon as a French Open champion?
SIMONA HALEP: I don't believe she has pressure. She's, like, how can I say? She's going for it every time. Is my opinion, so I feel that. I think she will be okay. She will play the same. We know that she didn't play every tournament like she played in French Open, but I think now she has extra, more confidence, and I think she can stay there more and win more.

Q. You have had your best results in the Grand Slams on clay. Do you think you can do well on grass?
SIMONA HALEP: I did semis once. I did quarters last year. So I feel that I can play good tennis on grass, but it's always difficult. You never know.

Important is the return, because opponents' serve is really tough to return. But, yeah, I think I have the game to play well.

Q. Do you think that on grass, you know, the speed of the court, it could help you because it gives you a little bit more speed and pace on your shots? Or do you feel it's a little bit more you're under pressure more because the pace is coming too quickly to you?
SIMONA HALEP: No, I have to be fast and I have to respond with the same, like, quickly, to respond quickly, because I don't have time to think like on clay court.

I have just to block a little bit the balls and to stay there aggressive. When I say "aggressive," close to the line and just push back the opponents.

Q. Did you get a chance to see Petra's performance in Birmingham? What do you think of her comeback?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, it's amazing. I mean, she is doing a great job. I think she's happy, and I'm really happy for her. Actually, I sent her a message -- and she sent me a message after the final.

She's a very nice person, and she deserves what is happening with her now.

Q. She sent you a text after the French Open final?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah. She text me.

Q. Do you have any interest in ranking possibilities now?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, before the final I was thinking (smiling). Was my next goal, let's say. Yeah, now that I'm so close, it's like it's coming more into my mind and into my soul. I really want to get there. But I'm close but still far. So I have just to take match by match and to do everything I can to be No. 1. It's going to be a big thing for me.

Q. When you see how Angelique has struggled a bit as world No. 1, Andy Murray has, as well, do you really want to be No. 1?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I want. And I want to face that challenge (smiling).

Q. And you think you would cope with the extra pressures?
SIMONA HALEP: Now in this moment I say that there is no reason to have pressure, because you reach your goal and then you have to relax and to play better. But you never know. I have no idea, so first I have to get there, and then I will tell you.

Q. That's what they said, too.

Q. Do you think this is one of the most open women's singles at Wimbledon coming up?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah. It was the same at French Open. When I arrived there I say that anyone can win, and Ostapenko won.

Q. I'm chairman of the tennis club here. As you can see, there is a big redevelopment plan here to be completed in 2020. The hope is that we will produce a book to celebrate that. I wonder if you have a warm memory or a warm recollection, a humorous story that you could give us for that purpose?

Q. Of your memories here.
SIMONA HALEP: It's first time when I come to Eastbourne, so the weather is perfect, actually, but few days were tough with the wind. I like the courts. I like that we have the possibility to train a lot. Is not that easy on grass court.

I like everything that is done, and I want to come back here.

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