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January 18, 2018

Simona Halep

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

S. HALEP/E. Bouchard

6-2, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How is the ankle holding up?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I still feel pain. Also I couldn't practice much. But during the match, I just forgot about it. I had a very tight tape. I could move.

The most important thing is that I could play my game not thinking about the ankle. I did it great today.

Q. Looked like the more you were winning and gaining self-confidence, the better you were moving.
SIMONA HALEP: At the beginning it was a little more difficult because I was not sure how it's going to be. But after a few games, I just said that I have to be confident in my leg, and everything went pretty well.

Q. How did your performance compare with your expectations before?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I played much better than I expected because of the foot, because of the foot. But my game was really solid today. I hit the ball very well. Also the return I was pretty strong.

I think everything went really well for me tonight. I played one of my best games.

Q. She can be tricky. She can obviously get into hot streaks where everything hits the lines and lands in. Was the tactic tonight to give her less pace? What were you trying to do out there?
SIMONA HALEP: Not really. I didn't think about something special that I play against her. I just wanted to make my game, to open the court, to stay closer to the baseline, to play a little bit more aggressive, which I did. Also to try to finish the points down the line, which I did pretty well with the backhand today.

Q. Lauren Davis next.
SIMONA HALEP: Yes, I know her. I played against her I think once. I know she can be pretty dangerous. She's moving well.

I have nothing to expect. I don't know how my foot is going to be. I just want to believe that I have my chance. For sure I will try everything. I'll go on court 100% to win the match.

Q. Do you feel pressure going forward knowing you're not necessarily 100%?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, for sure I'm not 100%. But I don't feel pressure. I feel a little bit more relaxed because I have nothing to lose. I'm just trying to stay focused on my game, nothing else. Definitely to be careful with the movement on the court, not forcing anything. I'm just going there and feeling the ball.

Q. You said you're going to watch the twist back. Did you?
SIMONA HALEP: I watched. I was scared. But the doctor said that I was lucky. After that picture, I was lucky that everything is pretty okay.

Q. An announcement today the Finals are going to Shenzhen.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I heard.

Q. Your thoughts on that?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I won two times there, so I feel great in that city. I'm looking forward. Hopefully I can qualify again to go there. It's going to be next year, so it's long time until then.

It's a great city, great people. I felt really well every time I went there. I just want to be once, if it's possible, there.

Q. It's going to be there for 10 years.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I heard. I hope.

Q. You've been playing at the top level since 2013. Do you feel like a veteran now?
SIMONA HALEP: No. C'mon, I'm not that old (smiling). I'm just 26.

I feel with more experience. I feel solid. I feel stronger mentally. I feel that also I improved a lot in my game. I'm a different person also on court as off court since 2013.

I'm just looking forward to see what future gives me, and also to try to be a better person in both ways.

Q. Talking to some of the older players, who said they felt the younger players are fearless. When you look back at the younger players coming through, do you see the same?
SIMONA HALEP: They're fearless, don't worry about anything. Yeah, they don't have worries about playing the top players, older ones, because it's normal. When I was like that, I felt the same thing: you have nothing to lose when you go to play with an older player.

But now they are very strong, very tall, powerful. Everything, it's open, in my opinion. The young players can do good result, as well. Also the old ones are doing pretty good job. So the tennis is really nice now.

You don't have only one player or two players that are doing everything and winning everything, which makes it more excited, like, more enjoyable I think for the crowd.

Q. At what point did you stop feeling like you had nothing to lose?

Q. Yes.
SIMONA HALEP: Actually it's changing. When you are young, you don't have anything to lose. But then you start to be confident, you start to feel that you are in the top. When you win against top players, the confidence is going up, then is changing.

All the time you have to have that feeling that you have nothing to lose, just concentrating on that match that you play.

Q. Do you have any story about where that fist pump-smile celebration came from?
SIMONA HALEP: From nowhere. Nowhere. Second match in China I did it once. Darren said he liked it, so I just kept doing it.

After the first round here, I didn't do it. I couldn't. I was too scared.

Q. So it's going to be a thing?
SIMONA HALEP: Maybe, if I will not forget, yeah (smiling).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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