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February 13, 2018

Simona Halep

Doha, Qatar

Q. Simona, welcome to Doha.
SIMONA HALEP: Thank you.

Q. So just quickly, how are you feeling after two weeks, physically and mentally just recovering from everything in Australia?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I had a big break after Australia. I stayed about two weeks. I did nothing, because I was really injured with my foot. And I had some treatment. The foot is okay now, but I have just to play official match to see if it stays like that. I really hope that nothing will come back and I will be able to play.

Q. After the Australian Open, were you surprised at all at kind of the reaction that, I don't know, both in the locker room, it seemed like people were kind of tuned in to that match and very impressed by your effort over the fortnight, fans as well. Did you get a sense of that?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah. I got it, and it was really nice to see that the people appreciated the way I fought and the way I played. They also appreciated my speech, which I was a little bit surprised because I didn't feel that it was something special. But it was nice. Everything was beautiful that tournament, even if I lost the final, I took only the positives and I'm really motivated to go ahead. So everything was really good for me. Also the game, I changed a little bit, so I want just to keep it, and now just to play every match like there. But I will be careful with my health, of course.

Q. That's a nice shirt.
SIMONA HALEP: Thank you.

Q. How has your deal with Nike come together and how happy are you to be with them?
SIMONA HALEP: I'm really happy that I have this deal. I can say it was a dream since I was a kid, because it's really good company and big company. So I'm looking forward actually tomorrow to play with the outfit the first match. I'm sure I will be nervous, but it's a good feeling, and I'm happy to be in their family.

Q. And what do you like about Doha as a tournament, as a city and to visit here and be here?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, for sure the shopping. And I will already plan something. It's a nice city. The weather is perfect this period, and also the people are very nice with me. So I enjoy the time here.

Q. Do you think that the rivalry between you and Wozniacki will be the one of the year or do you see a larger competition?
SIMONA HALEP: I see a larger competition for sure. Everyone from Top 10 is able to win any tournament and any match. So I'm just ready to face anyone, and I'm just focusing on myself because if you pay attention on yourself, it's much better. You don't get distracted by anything. Just doing your job on court.

Q. And what is your relationship with Italy, with Rome, that tournament?
SIMONA HALEP: Very good relation. I'm in love with Rome, I can say. I really look forward to play there again. It's one of the best tournaments in the world, and the crowd is amazing. The facilities are great. So everything is nice in Rome, and also the city. So oh, every time I go to visit there.

Q. Last question. Are you still in contact with Cino Marchese?

Q. He always told me about you.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah. He's friends with Virginia Ruzici, and yeah, we got contacted by her.

Q. Simona, just talking about this tournament going forward, I mean do you arrive here with -- I mean what's your mindset as you start it?
SIMONA HALEP: My mind is set on the health first. I have to be very sure that the foot is okay and I can push. I'm ready because I practiced a few days. I practiced today. I will practice again today here. So I feel that I'm ready to play, but tomorrow I will see exactly how it is.

Q. And it's been a pretty nice few days for Romanian tennis, just with Fed Cup. Obviously you were there cheerleading.
SIMONA HALEP: I've been there, yeah.

Q. And how was it to be a cheerleader, and also if you have any comments about Monica's big win last night.
SIMONA HALEP: It was tough that I couldn't play. I always like to play for my country, but sometimes it's better if you let someone with good health to go on court and to win the matches. So I decided to not play that match. But in the future I will play for sure. I can't wait for April. Actually we play home again. So it's great.

And then I can say about Monica that is really, really nice victory for her. I send her a message actually last night. She deserves that because she's working hard every day, and I'm sure that she's really happy she could beat Sharapova because all of us from Romania, we always tried to beat her because she was a big name in tennis. So that's why we always enjoy the time on court when we beat Sharapova.

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