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July 3, 2017

Simona Halep

Wimbledon, London, England

S. HALEP/M. Erakovic

6-4, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. The wind started to swirl 20 minutes in, it started to rain, had a little bit of a delay. How happy are you that you got this done before the rain delay?
SIMONA HALEP: Really happy that I didn't have to stop. It's good that I finished in time.

It was good. I feel happy for my victory today.

Q. How would you describe your year so far and your hopes here at Wimbledon?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, my clay court season was pretty good. I played the maximum of the last three tournaments, the finals. So I'm really happy with that performance.

But here is different. The grass court is way different than the clay court.

I'm just trying to be focused, to keep the same attitude, same mentality, going for just the only one match that I have to play, not thinking far.

So I'm not thinking about the result, and I have no expectation. I'm just trying to work hard every day and to keep the same routine.

Q. When you make it to a final of a major and you don't win, there are two ways of looking at it: it's great I'm in the final, it's not so good because I didn't win. What has been your focus in thinking about what just happened at the French?
SIMONA HALEP: Both sides. So I was looking also that it's great, that I could play a final in the French Open after the beginning of the year where I was injured and a little bit down. But also I was disappointed that I lost it. I felt during the match that I'm really close to win it. So I was sad about that match.

But life goes on, and I have just to take day by day again, to start again, and to refresh my mind.

Q. How did you approach today's match?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I knew she has a strong forehand. I didn't know actually that she's hitting so well the slice, so I had a little bit trouble in the first set. But then I got used to the rhythm. In the second set, was much better.

The court is a bit different than the practice courts. Was tough to adjust myself. It's always beautiful to play here in Wimbledon. I feel that it's really good day, it was a really good day that I could win.

Q. What do you think she did well and not so well in the match?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I think after I found the rhythm, I was pushing her back more. I think that she was struggling a little bit to return the balls. But I knew also that she won a few matches, about 10 or 12 matches on grass, before this tournament. So it was a little bit of, like, nerves. I had nerves before the match. I knew her. I played in US Open. But I knew it's going to be different here on grass.

It was a tough round, but good that I could win it.

Q. How is the court playing? Bouncing low or bouncing high? Slow, fast? How do you feel?
SIMONA HALEP: It's tough to say. I feel that it's slower, but also the ball is going, like, sliding.

Q. Skidding?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, skid.

It's tough to say. But in the end I found the rhythm, and I hope I have it now for the next round.

Q. Would you say grass is your least favorite surface to play on?
SIMONA HALEP: I had good result here, actually, a few years ago, semis. I got injured in that match.

But I can say that I have the game to play well on grass. But, like I say always, you never know. So the serve is really important here, also the return. If I'm able to return the big serves, then I think I can play well.

Q. Do you feel like you'll improve with every match that you win?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah. Here on grass, every day you play, every match you play, it's like a big plus for your game, and you get used more and more.

Q. Has it helped you to get back on court, or do you feel like you got on court too quickly in terms of putting clay behind you, at least the French Open final behind you?
SIMONA HALEP: It's very fast. The grass court season is very fast after the clay when you go till the end in French Open.

But it was good. I had some days off home. Then I just wanted to forget everything, to start again, which I did. I feel good now.

Q. Does playing the matches and getting back into competition help you forget?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, for sure. And I wanted to play Eastbourne because of that. I wanted to compete again and to feel again the nerves and the emotions that I have before the match.

Q. What have been your observations of Petra's comeback from what happened to her, and what's been going through your mind as you've seen her make this comeback?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I think it's a great thing what she's doing. She's really strong. She has strong personality. That she's winning again on grass is normal, in my opinion, because she is a very good player on grass court. She has a big chance also here.

I think Petra deserves what is happening now. She's a very good person. I hope that she's going to go through and win matches because she's a good person.

Q. How would you describe the shock of the news of what happened to her?
SIMONA HALEP: I don't want to comment that. It's too tough. I cannot imagine how it is. Yeah, never happened. I hope never happen.

But it's tough. I mean, I think she was a little bit shocked. But she's strong and she's back on court.

Q. I actually meant for you. I didn't mean for her. When you heard that news, what it must have been like that a fellow tennis player had this happen.
SIMONA HALEP: I was a little bit scared. I was a little bit shocked. It's normal, I think like everyone. It's not easy to happen that one. Is just tough to explain.

Q. Everyone has seen how well you can play on clay. You went into the French Open with people expecting you perhaps to win the tournament. Is it nice to come into this tournament with a little bit less pressure on you, people not expecting so much perhaps?
SIMONA HALEP: Also on French Open, I didn't say that I'm favorite, and I didn't expect myself to be in the final from the first day. But I believed that I have the chance because I played well also in Madrid and Rome.

I didn't feel pressure at all there. I just was motivated. I felt that if everyone says that I have a chance, it is like that, so I have to take it.

Here, no one is talking about me, about the favorite player (laughter). But I still feel that I have a chance, and I have to work for it.

Q. Would you like it if people were talking about you later in the tournament?

Q. Would you like to get to the stage where people are talking about you as a potential winner of this tournament?
SIMONA HALEP: I don't like that, or I like it. We're two ways. It's okay what people say. I mean, I'm not bothered any more. I don't feel the negative pressure. I feel just positive pressure.

Q. What is it like for the other players when Serena Williams isn't at a tournament? How do you think it affects everybody else's chances, the wide openness of the field, et cetera?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I feel that everyone has a chance here, like in French Open, when I said at the beginning of the tournament that Serena is not here, the tournament, it's for sure more open. I think everyone is more relaxed, I can say.

But also we are used now. We didn't see Serena since Australian Open. I'm talking about myself, so I'm not thinking about Serena when I go to the tournament now because she's missed, like, five, six months already. So it's something normal.

Q. Your next opponent, Beatriz Haddad Maia. How do you approach that match?
SIMONA HALEP: I have to check how she's playing, I will have to talk with my coach. Of course, is going to be a tough one. She beat Robson, which she is playing well on grass.

I will see what I have to do against her. It's nothing special. It's just a match. I have just to do my best tennis to win it.

Q. On grass, because it is so fast, because the speed of the ball is fast, the points are shorter, are you more tense on court? Is there more stress than maybe when you play on clay or hard courts?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I think you are more tense and you are more contracted because every ball, you have no idea where is going or bouncing, how it's bouncing. So you have a little bit contract. You are a little bit contracted.

But for everyone is the same. So we have just to stay low, very low, and then just to start to feel the rhythm. The rhythm is tough here. Yeah, you don't have time to think about the point. You just have to be there.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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