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July 7, 2017

Simona Halep

Wimbledon, London, England

S. HALEP/Peng Shuai

6-4, 7-6

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Another time into the second week. How happy are you with how you've been able to perform so far?
SIMONA HALEP: I'm really happy. I think I played every match better. Today was a very high level of tennis. She plays really well. I played well. I'm really thankful with the way that I played and how I've been on court.

So everything went pretty good.

Q. Is it good to be tested like that at this stage before you have even tougher tests to come?
SIMONA HALEP: I don't take the match like a test. I take it very important. It's open always when I go on court. Anyone can win the match from both of us. So I'm just trying to stay focused, to do my job as good as I can, and just trying to win.

Today was pretty close and was a tough one.

Q. A lot of the players are saying the courts are not playing as well as they have in the past, they're more slippery. Some have turned brown without enough grass sooner than usual. How have you been finding the courts? Are you worried about slipping?
SIMONA HALEP: I cannot say that the courts are bad because we know that the grass is like this. But I think because of the heat, the grass is a little bit too dry. Also the spots that the grass is gone, it's a little bit dangerous.

Yeah, I slipped a little bit at the beginning of the match. I was a little bit worried. But it's normal and the conditions are the same for everyone. It's a bit tough, but I cannot remember if it's worse than previous years or not. It's just I think the heat this year.

Q. You're a clay-courter. When you step on the grass, what are the adjustments you have to make in terms of your movement?
SIMONA HALEP: I cannot slide here, so it's a bit different. It's pretty tough for me because today I didn't feel very safe on my feet. I was worried a little bit that I would slip.

But I feel that I can move well also here, and I'm running pretty good. Yeah, it's different. It's way different than a clay court. But still I feel okay. I feel strong on my legs. I can run.

I have no problems.

Q. Unlike the other majors, Sunday is an off day. How do you plan to spend it? What do you think of having the day off?
SIMONA HALEP: In Romania, Sundays we are not working, so I'm used to it. I always tell Darren Sundays that I have to stay. It's a good day to relax. I have also tomorrow a day off. I take it like it is. I want just to remain focused. I will do some things to relax myself. Then we start again. It's a new tournament, in my head.

Q. On Monday with the men and women playing, another unique Wimbledon feature, what do you think that experience is like for the fans and the tennis world?
SIMONA HALEP: Darren I think told me that is the biggest day of tennis or the best day of tennis, Monday in Wimbledon, because men and women play in the same time, the 16s.

I think it's a good thing for the fans. They are coming and they are enjoying a lot all the matches. I feel good that I can be one of them. I will try my best to win the match, but I expect a tough one.

Q. With how the French Open ended for you, did you have any doubts about how ready you would be to compete again in a major this season?
SIMONA HALEP: No, I didn't have doubts. I was sad, of course. But I was realistic after the match. I saw what I've done less good and what I've done good.

I think my game is at a very high level in this moment. That upset from the final cannot bring me down. I got just the positives from the clay court season. It's been amazing.

Now I'm just positive again and I started again. So I don't have problems that I cannot compete again.

Q. You see yourself already applying those lessons you learned in terms of being more aggressive more consistently?
SIMONA HALEP: I've been today on court. Went pretty well. A set point down, I made a volley, so that's very, very rare (smiling). But was nice. Yeah, the emotions are positive now in those moments. I played much better when I had to step in and to hit.

Q. You have Azarenka up next. The last time you played her, it was a long match at the US Open.
SIMONA HALEP: She was not a mom, so is different now (smiling).

It's a great thing, yeah, what she did. It's going to be big challenge for me, for sure. Even if she stayed one year, almost one year, she's a tough opponent and a great champion.

I'm just going there to give my best. Of course I believe I have my chance to win. But like I said, the match is open. I have just to step in and to take my chances.

Q. Do you expect it to be another long match? Do you think you can beat her in straight sets?
SIMONA HALEP: I don't know what to say about this question. I just want to win it. Doesn't matter how.

Q. Speaking about the lessons learned from Paris, set down, set point, you hit a big return. Match point you hit a big return. In those moments are you telling yourself to do it or is it natural?
SIMONA HALEP: It's set in my mind now. When I have these balls, I just go and I try to hit and to take the initiative.

Q. You mentioned your thoughts on how great it is for Vika to have had the baby. What are your observations on how fast she's come back to this level of play and made it this far in the tournament?
SIMONA HALEP: I didn't have doubts that she cannot come back since I heard that she's pregnant. She has everything to be there. She was No. 1 in the world, Grand Slam champion. I think she has everything to come back and to be again in the last matches of the tournaments.

She's a strong personality. Yeah, it's nothing surprised for me. I feel that she has to be here because she deserves. She's working hard.

Q. The match against Vika at the US Open, what do you remember about it?

Q. It came at the right time, it seemed.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah (smiling).

Q. What do you remember about that match? Also what did that match kind of mean to you? At the time it was one of the better fights and battles that you had got through.
SIMONA HALEP: It's one of my best matches in tennis. I remember that I was running pretty well. I was hitting the balls very hard. She was doing the same thing. So the level was very high.

Also mentally I stayed strong. So I have just to take every ball very important. Every ball, it matters when I play against her. So I have just to be ready, to be fit, to be 100%, to go there and believe that I have my chance.

Q. Do you think sometime in the near future it might not be such a surprise to us that Vika came back or Serena's pregnant and will come back, that it will be commonplace that players might take pregnancy maternity leave then naturally come back as routine?
SIMONA HALEP: It's tough to answer. I don't want to do that. To talk about anyone else, I cannot. So I'm talking about myself, saying that I don't have this in my mind to get pregnant and to have a baby and then to come back.

I would like to have babies when I stop tennis, so we'll see. You never know.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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