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January 16, 2018

Simona Halep

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

S. HALEP/D. Aiava

7-6, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How is the ankle?
SIMONA HALEP: I don't know now. I felt a big pain on court, but I didn't have time to go to check it. I just had a shower, I had stretching, and I came here.

I just want to wait for tomorrow to see how I wake up. From my experience, I feel that is nothing broken, but still the pain was big. I have to see with the doctors.

Q. It's not the same ankle as last year, is it?
SIMONA HALEP: I had before last year, about five, this ankle during the years. So my ankles are not good. That's why I tape all the time.

But, yeah, I don't know what happened because I had the tape on. Just, yeah, I don't realize yet. I want to see at the TV how it was because I don't even remember.

Q. It looks awful.

Q. Is there any sense in mind you might not be able to play on Thursday?
SIMONA HALEP: I'm not thinking about that. I'm used to the ankle, with the switch ankles, so I don't believe that I will stop.

But, you know, first the priority is always the health. So I will see. In my opinion, I will be able to play.

Q. Did the ankle swell up?
SIMONA HALEP: No. Never does with me, yeah. Just the ligaments is the problem, all the time.

Q. Talk about the first set, how she was playing. Was it a slow start for you or was she playing lights-out tennis?
SIMONA HALEP: I think she played great. She played without not thinking but without emotions. She was not afraid of anything, so she was hitting very strong and very well.

I was actually stressed a little bit because two years in a row I lost first round, so I didn't want to do the third one (smiling). But I think she's very good player and very talented, very powerful. She's going to be good in the future.

But I'm really happy that I could win the first round. Was really important.

Q. What were you telling yourself after getting stressed to reel it back in?
SIMONA HALEP: I couldn't get away from stress (smiling). Maybe that's why happened also with the ankle.

But now I feel more relaxed and I feel like refreshed. So hopefully it's going to be okay tomorrow. Just the next round to play relaxed and to enjoy the game, as I did in China.

Q. Did you feel like your experience kind of won a little bit today, almost like she was hitting a lot of lines, a lot of big balls, but towards the end of that set you started to say, Okay, if you can keep doing it...
SIMONA HALEP: I said I have to be there because it's impossible to keep the same rhythm for all match. I think the experience help me today, and also the way I fought. I think I was there for every point, and I didn't give up at all during the match.

Also when I was 5-2 down, I said that I will not lose the match. I just have to stay there. If she is going to beat me, she's better, and that's it.

But I stayed there.

Q. It was a long medical timeout.
SIMONA HALEP: I think she didn't know what's the score. At 5-3, she wanted to change the court. I think she thought it's set, and she took the medical. The medical maybe helped me. I was lucky a little bit.

Q. Did it help you regroup? When she came back, the momentum was really all with her.
SIMONA HALEP: I didn't think about the medical, to be honest. I just needed a little bit of time maybe to calm down and to realize what I have to play. Then I changed a little bit. I just wanted to make her run, which I did. I think was much better after the timeout.

Q. How do you feel about playing Bouchard in the next round?
SIMONA HALEP: It's a normal match. Nothing special. I know how she's playing. But we didn't play together since long time.

Q. Wimbledon semi.
SIMONA HALEP: Wimbledon semi maybe, yeah, 2014. So long time ago.

I know that she's staying at the baseline. She tries to hit very fast. I have to do also the same game like I'm doing: aggressive, and trying to move her.

Q. Do you ever think about what happens if you don't roll your ankle in that match, 2014, Wimbledon semi?
SIMONA HALEP: Yes, I thought about it. I'm more than 50% sure that I was close to win the match, because I had confidence after Paris, I was feeling the ball pretty well. But happened at the beginning of the match. Then I got scared like today as well. I always get scared when I have a little injury.

But it's past. After tomorrow is going to be a new match. We'll see.

Q. We've seen Angie playing some good tennis again. A lot of the players that we're used to seeing in the top 10 are now outside of the top 20, Aga, Petra, a bunch of different players trying to fight their way back. Is it kind of weird at all?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, everything with every player happens something. Petra had something bad in her life, was tough to keep the same rhythm to be in top 10 with that long break. Angie won two Grand Slams, being No. 1 in the world. I'm sure she was a little bit too relaxed after she finished that year. Was an amazing year.

I was sure that they will come back. Angie came back already this year. They have the game there. They have the rhythm. They have just to find and to feel it again. It's not that tough, but they have to be patient, in my opinion.

Q. When Angie reached No. 1, won two Grand Slams, the obligations on her maybe sort of cost her a little bit last year. Are you worried that's going to be the same with you?
SIMONA HALEP: No. I want to be in that position, to be honest (laughter). To win a Grand Slam, to be No. 1, then we will see.

For the moment, I don't feel that pressure. I am No. 1 in the world but feels like I've touched what I wanted, so the dream came true. I don't want to be stressed.

Here was different. Here was just the thought that I lost two years in a row in the first round. That's why it was emotional more. But the pressure of being No. 1, it's normal. I don't feel it. So we will see next weeks.

Q. When you were 5-2 down, you say that you refused to lose, is that something from Darren or from inside you, what the Romanian blood say?
SIMONA HALEP: The matches I played this year, I feel pretty confident. I feel that I never give up now. I improved in this way. I feel pretty solid on myself. Also, the team is helping me. We work together on these things.

Today I just showed that I can do it. So I want just to keep this feeling.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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