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May 13, 2018

Simona Halep

Rome, Italy


THE MODERATOR: First question, please. We're going to use the microphone.

Q. In Madrid in the past, not now for the moment in Roma, do you prefer Madrid for the highness of the ground or is it the same for you, Roma and Madrid?
SIMONA HALEP: Different tournament, different conditions. But both of them are very nice.

So I'm really happy to be here again in Rome. Hopefully I can play good.

Q. You said the other day you love Rome. It's one of your favorite cities. What is it about the city that you love so much and why do you want to kind of do well here?
SIMONA HALEP: That's really good.

The city is beautiful. I like to walk around the streets and to see all those beautiful buildings.

I stay in very nice hotel. So, everything about this city is beautiful.

So now we go to tennis. I like the courts. I like the atmosphere here. Many fans, great fans, and you can have contact with them closer. So, yeah, it's different atmosphere and I really enjoy every time I come.

I hope to play good tennis. I hope to win some matches and to stay longer here.

Q. In terms of Serena possibly coming back for the French or Wimbledon, what's your opinion whether she should be seeded and, if so, what number should she be seeded?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I don't know which number she has - - what number she has to be seeded. But I told that it's normal to give birth to a kid, it's normal to have protected ranking. Because it's something very nice and it's more than tennis.

So, the people will decide what seed she will get. But, in my opinion, it's good to protect the ranking when someone is giving birth.

Q. Players like Petra and Pliskova are playing very well on clay. Why do you think that bigger players who hit bigger are doing well on clay these days?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I don't really know to answer that question. I said that it doesn't matter how you play now. You can win on every surface.

So, I'm not surprised. I know that they're able to win every tournament and doesn't matter the surface.

So, yeah, they played really well in Madrid. And Petra played amazing. I saw her play.

Q. Is there any particular difficulty playing a player like that, aggressive players on clay, or is it all the same, regardless of the surface?
A. Everywhere it's the same. Doesn't matter which surface you play. It's always tough to play with the big hitters.

Q. The turnaround is very quick here between Madrid and Rome. I wondered if you had a chance to reflect on your last match in Madrid and perhaps what you took away from it and from the week? And what's your mentality heading into this?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, it was a good match, in my opinion, against Pliskova. She played a really good level of tennis. She was very confident, and she didn't think about anything. Just go in there and playing her best, which she did.

I can say I was not at the best level, but I played well. So I don't take the negative from that tournament. I played quarters, three times in a row, which is good. I like that tournament. So, nothing is negative.

I'm coming here with confidence that I'm playing okay on clay. I played final last year so I have, you know, good feelings. And we will see.

I cannot guarantee anything in tennis. So we will see, day by day.

Q. How do you rate your clay court preparation so far?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I think I worked really hard since I started to play on clay this year. I've trained different things, which is good for my game for the future, not just for this season.

I always love to be on clay. I slide. I feel different, the game, which is much better. But still, on hard courts, I had very good results this year so far.

So, I'm not focusing on the surface that much. I'm just trying to get better in my game and to bring something, like, different.

Q. When you come to Rome, how difficult is it for you to set aside news from last year, with the injury, and not to think about it?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I'm not thinking about the injury anymore because it's passed and it's one year since then.

I just think about the good matches that I've played here, good results. So, hopefully, this year I can be close or repeat it or better.

So, I'm just here to enjoy the moment and the week.

Q. How many times did that happen on practice courts when maybe nobody was seeing?

Q. The same kind of injury.
SIMONA HALEP: In practice, never.

Just during the match.

Q. It's often a tricky thing to know how to peak at the right time in a season because a lot of the tournaments are big and you want to win all of them. Obviously, Paris is a big goal for you. So how do you balance and, just even your mentality, to make sure that you're peaking in Paris?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I never plan everything for one week or two weeks.

Of course, the Grand Slam is now for me the most important tournament. But, I cannot plan anything. So I'm taking every tournament important. I'm giving everything I have every week.

Like I did before Melbourne, I went to Shenzhen, I won singles, doubles. So, it's nothing special doing before a Grand Slam.

Just taking care of your body to be healthy. And if nothing bad happens, I feel like every time you are ready. Because I'm working every day, I'm playing every day. So, we'll see what is gonna happen. But, the goal is the Grand Slam, yeah, this year.

Q. When you first started working with Darren, I think that you guys had talked about how there was a long-term plan to your game, in terms of building -- learning how to play the right way, instead of trying to win tournament matches. Things like that. Do you feel you are still in that phase of long-term planning with your game and how your game has changed, or is it closer to the end point?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, yeah. He told me at the beginning that we have to see the things in the big picture, so not just the result of the day.

Also, yeah, we worked on the game a lot. We are still working. I want to get better in some things. He's telling me that I can be better and I can be stronger during the matches, with different plans of the game. So, I'm working on that.

And, also, he told me about the attitude at the beginning, which was not just for one tournament. Was for many years. So, I'm trying to get better in that way. I think I improved a lot all the ways, in the game and also attitude. But we're still working. I think always and forever you have to learn something.

So, I'm open to that and I'm looking, actually, every day for things to get better. So it's a good thing and I think it's a positive thing to see all the things, also the results and also the tournament.

Q. You said the conditions between Madrid and Rome are different. Madrid has to be faster. If you could choose the perfect playbook, would it be slower conditions or faster conditions?
SIMONA HALEP: It's tough to say. I like, also, Paris where it's harder and faster. I like, also, Madrid where it's the altitude and the ball flies a little bit. I like also here because it's a little bit heavier.

So mix all three, and it's perfect.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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