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January 27, 2018

Simona Halep

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


7-6, 3-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. We understand is difficult for you to come here after this defeat, but we would like to know how you feel, if it's really depressing, frustrating, or you can still smile?
SIMONA HALEP: I can still smile. It's fine. I cried, but now I'm smiling.

Is just a tennis match in the end. But, yeah, I'm really sad I couldn't win it. I was close again, but the gas was over in the end.

She was better. She was fresher. She had actually more energy in the end.

Q. After so many long, difficult matches earlier in the tournament, how were you feeling physically going into it and then throughout the match? Did it have an effect?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, for sure. I was really tired. I had so many problems at my feet, pain everywhere. But, you know, I think I did pretty well with all the things that were going on.

After the first set, I just was out. I don't know what happened. No energy, no power. But then I just said that I have to hit all the balls, and then I could take the second set.

I came back in the third set, but when I had to serve for 5-3, the gas was gone, so I couldn't make it. It's a bit sad.

Q. Over time you've had these tough matches, and your mentality has improved. Are you particularly proud of how you fought right to the end today?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I am. I did 100% what I could today. That's why I can say that I'm not sad for that. I'm sad that I lost the match, I was not the winner. But, you know, life goes on.

For sure in the future, if I keep working like this and I keep playing like this, I will be in a good position again.

Q. You said in your speech after the French Open last year, Maybe I wasn't ready. Did you feel ready today?
SIMONA HALEP: Yes, I felt ready. But the body was not ready because I had so many long matches. The muscles were tired. The feet were not good enough. But mentally I was ready. I feel that I can face any challenge. I can play against anyone. I can win against anyone.

But just sometimes is not how you want because you cannot physically do it.

Q. Does this feel very different to the first two slam finals?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah. I think was different with everything. I played better. I didn't move as I wanted because I couldn't. But the game was okay. The mental part was okay. So I think I have improved a lot this tournament. I'm leaving Australia with many good thoughts and many positive things because what I've done these two weeks I never did, me, in the past. So it's okay.

Q. Does it also help to know that people like Kim Clijsters and Chris Evert lost a few finals first and went on to win?
SIMONA HALEP: Yes, but I want to win. I'm still losing and I'm still waiting (smiling). Maybe the fourth one will be with luck, as I said.

Q. What did your coach say to you after the match tonight?
SIMONA HALEP: He said that he's really proud of me, of what I've done this tournament. He said that I've been the best mentally and physically, as well, fighting till the end. So he's happy about my performance.

Q. There was a moment in the match when you thought maybe you could do something different, that you regret more than another one, or no?
SIMONA HALEP: Not really. Maybe first set I should hit the ball like I did in the second and the third set. But I just said that I still have energy to play with her. But was maybe a mistake. In the tiebreak I should be more aggressive.

But, as I said, energy was not enough. That's why maybe I couldn't concentrate and I couldn't take the risk.

Q. Do you think you figured out how to play? The certain game style you played over the last two weeks, Shenzhen as well, under duress, pressure, breakpointing, that it's clear in your head now?
SIMONA HALEP: It's clear and I start to feel it pretty well. So I will keep doing that. Firstly have a break, long (smiling).

Q. How long?
SIMONA HALEP: How long? I don't tell you (laughter).

Q. When did you have cramps?
SIMONA HALEP: Second set. But then I was better. In the third set I was better. But still the pain was there.

Q. How relieved were you about the heat rule, that you could have that 10-minute break?
SIMONA HALEP: Was really good when I was staying in the air-conditioning in the locker room. But I feel that was a little bit too much and maybe cut me a little bit. But I needed it for the breathing, for the head, because I had headache during the match. Is a good rule when you feel that you need it.

Q. Was that why you saw the doctor, because you had a headache?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah. Dizzy and headache.

Q. If you look at these two pictures, which one do you like better?
SIMONA HALEP: Which one I like better?

Q. Yes.
SIMONA HALEP: That one (smiling).

Q. What's the reason?
SIMONA HALEP: The reason? Because I won a point, for sure.

Q. You mentioned that your feet weren't perfect either. Did you have blisters?
SIMONA HALEP: No blisters. The tendons, pain.

Q. In the ankle?
SIMONA HALEP: The feet. It's swollen, my right one. Both of them are dead. That's why I need break.

Q. On the subject of the ankle, after that first-round match if somebody told you when you were being treated that you would be here on Saturday, would you have believed them?
SIMONA HALEP: No, no, because was really bad. Was, like, hurting every day. In the practice, I couldn't practice more than 10, 15 minutes. So every day I just played to feel the ball 15 minutes, and that was it.

I didn't believe that I can go through all these matches. But I wanted. Looks like I have enough inside power to fight with everything. So it's a good thing. This tournament meant a lot for me.

Q. Do you need to get an MRI on the ankle now?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, both feet. The feet, actually, when I go home.

Q. The other day you had 50 winners. Today you had many net approaches, many swing volleys. Do you feel your game is changing to be more aggressive? Do you practice that?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I do that. I have set in my mind that I have to be more aggressive. That's why I'm going to the net. But today my legs were not going, or not fast enough.

But still I did some points there. She was running very well. She responded very, very well. She does that all the time. A lot of credit to her.

But I'm okay with the way I played. Maybe a little bit more energy and a little bit more power, maybe I could have won this match.

Q. Did you lose your momentum when she took the injury break?
SIMONA HALEP: Maybe a little bit because I was up, coming back from 1-3. I was 4-3 up. Maybe those three minutes were a little bit tough.

But, you know, the rule is the rule. I don't complain.

Q. Are you planning on St. Petersburg?
SIMONA HALEP: No (smiling).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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