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May 20, 2018

Simona Halep

Rome, Italy


6-0, 6-4


Q. The second set was a lot closer than the first one. What were you able to do to change the match?
SIMONA HALEP: I think I was a little bit too stiff with my body. And I couldn't stay in the rallies, and I missed a lot.

She was solid. She is solid every time I play against.

So it was a good match made by her; and she deserved to win, for sure.

Q. Did you feel you couldn't get going?

Q. The first set you just couldn't get going, couldn't get out of the starting blocks physically, mentally. What do you think --
SIMONA HALEP: I think I was a little bit tight and the muscles were a little bit stiff. I couldn't run. Because I knew that I have to run in this match.

I didn't start well. Maybe I was rushing a little bit.

She didn't miss. I missed in the first set.

But then the match was a little bit better. And it's good that I could finish strong.

Q. Stiffness due to the long match yesterday, due to nerves? What do you think causes that sort of tightness?
SIMONA HALEP: The match for me yesterday, every time I play against Sharapova, the ball is coming very flat and I bend a lot so my back gets a little bit sore.

But it was not about the injury. Today, just I was not fresh enough to start the match better.

Q. Tennis is becoming very physical. And, of course, you are one of the most physical players in the world. So I was wondering, how much time do you spend in the gym like during a tournament or throughout the season?
SIMONA HALEP: During the tournament you mean?

Q. And also throughout the season.
SIMONA HALEP: One hour a day every day I spend in the gym. And I try just to do the exercises, to stay the same. So I'm not working during the year to get stronger.

In off-season, I do a little bit more. But I don't do over one hour, one hour twenty minutes.

Q. A fair number of matches last year were lopsided sets against you, against other top players. What's going through your mind when that is happening, when a set is -- someone is winning easily against you? How do you try to change the match then?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I just try to stop missing. Because every time I lose an easy set, it's because I miss a lot.

So I try to get back, to stay focused, which I didn't this match.

It's all about that day. So, it's every time's different.

Today, it was physically a little bit. But still, I'm okay that I finished a little bit better.

Q. Obviously, the win over Sharapova was a big confidence boost. Does this impact the amount of confidence, like today's result, that you take into Paris?
SIMONA HALEP: No, not for sure.

As I said on court, it's nice to play final. So if I will play next year again final, I will not be sad.

So, yeah, I'm a little bit disappointed because I couldn't make better tennis in the first set. But she's a solid player, and she played well today.

Q. Svitolina was asked during the trophy ceremony if she thought she could continue playing like this at Roland Garros. And she said that she thinks Grand Slams are always tricky. Do you agree with that, it is a different sort of level to be able to transfer success like Rome to the Grand Slams? Or should it be the still the best of three, still same players? Is it that different?
SIMONA HALEP: It's a little bit different. Maybe the history makes it special and you feel the pressure more. More matches. You have one day before -- one day off between the matches.

The atmosphere is different. Many people. So, we cannot compare a normal tournament with a Grand Slam.

But, we should treat all the same. With experience, I think you get there and you treat it like a normal tournament.

Q. You understand, then, why a player like Elina would struggle. Because she's won a lot of these tournaments. She's won Rome twice. But she's never made it to the semifinals even of a Grand Slam so far.
SIMONA HALEP: Well, it's tough to talk about Svitolina because I don't know her very well. So I'm not gonna -- I'm not in the position to comment about other players.

I think she's able to do any results, like all the girls.

Q. Speaking of Svitolina, maybe in a way you can talk about her, you've played her a lot over the course of the last three years while she's been going up and now solidly a top five player, I think. Can you talk about how her game has changed, like how you've seen it change when you play her?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, in the last two years -- yeah, we played last year and this year a few times.

So I feel that she's very consistent. She's not going down. She's not going -- like changing something. She's very solid on her game. And every time, she does her game.

Q. Talking about this stage of your career, the experience you have, the quality you have, you can consider yourself between the first three favorites in Paris?
SIMONA HALEP: First what?

Q. Three favorites.
SIMONA HALEP: Where, in Roland Garros?

In Paris.

Well, last year, I played the final. So, we can think about that. But on many matches before the final.

So I wish just to go there, to be ready, to feel good, and to win the first round. Because always the first round is the toughest.

Q. Last year going into Paris you said, look, 15 players can win, 20 players can win; it was wide open. Is it more wide open --
SIMONA HALEP: And I was right, huh?

Q. You were very right, very good with predictions. That's why I asked you.
SIMONA HALEP: I don't predict any more.

Q. Do you think it is as open this year or --

No, I think the same. Maybe five, six players are a little bit stronger on clay.

But I feel the same. I think that tennis, women tennis, has changed and every tournament is open. And everyone has a chance to win, even a Grand Slam.

So, we will see. I don't want to say anything about the results. Just go in there, and we'll see what's gonna happen.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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