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May 30, 2018

Simona Halep

Paris, France

S. HALEP/A. Riske

2-6, 6-1, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. Firstly, how is it to play on four days in the competition, and also slow start today maybe?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, but it's not because I stayed so many days. You know, with the rain, you cannot do anything. So I'm not going to complain about that.

I had a slow start because it's always tough to start this tournament. It's a pleasure to come here and to play. So always I feel nervous at the beginning.

But it was good that I came back so strong. Then I just didn't think about the result or about the match. I just wanted to relax my arms, because I was moving pretty well also at the beginning, but my arm was very tight and I couldn't hit the ball as I wanted.

But then it was much easier, and I felt really well in the end of the match, and that's the most important for now.

Q. Start of the match, when you stepped out on the court, was it just that you felt the pressure, the nerves? Was it more physical when you say your arm was tight or something where you just knew, Okay, the first half hour is going to take a while for me to click into gear?
SIMONA HALEP: I felt the nerves. I didn't feel the pressure, because I know that every match is tough at this tournament, so I don't expect anything.

But what I expect from myself is to go there and to play as I play in practice. So this is the only one thing that I'm following and I want to have on court.

The result, it's going to come if I play well. If not, I just have to fight and to try to not giving up even one point.

Q. Obviously on the tour you speak to Darren a lot. Here you can't speak to Darren. How difficult is it for you to figure things out like a slow start, nervous start against Alison on your own?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, as you said, we had many on-court coaching moments, and now I can say I have learned how to come out from a bad feeling on court.

So today it was a good moment, I could come back alone, by myself. And this makes me a little bit more confident. And also stronger mentally, because I was able to do it alone.

But always I have my communication with Darren mentally, because I know his advice every time. We know each other since long time now. Tough moments, sometimes I know what to do and I'm able to do, like today.

Q. Serena is back. Maria Sharapova is back. What do you think about those big names are back in Paris?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, it's great that Serena is back, and with a baby, which is very special. I saw her yesterday playing, so it's great to see her back on court.

The tournament, it's nice. Many big names, and I think it's open, so anyone can win it.

It's a pleasure, I can say, to be in the same draw as the other girls. It's nice that we can compete again together.

Q. After Rome when clearly you weren't 100% in the final, how long did you actually rest for, not getting on the court at all, and how long have you felt 100% fit again to start playing?
SIMONA HALEP: As I said, after the final was not about injury that I lost that match. Of course I was a little bit tired after the semis, but the back was a little bit stiff.

I stayed only two days off. I went home in Bucharest, and then I came here and I started to practice. So it was okay. I have no pain. I feel ready. I feel in good shape.

Q. How much rest do you actually get when you go home to Bucharest? Because obviously you're very well-known back at home.
SIMONA HALEP: I don't go out much, so I have lot of rest.

Q. Did you have a chance to recluse and shut yourself off a little?
SIMONA HALEP: Exactly, and I am doing very often.

Q. You've got Taylor Townsend coming up in your next match. Could you look ahead to that a little bit and what do you expect out of it, and what do you want to take maybe from this match into the next match against an American?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, it's different, because she's lefty, so it's going to be different match.

If I remember well, I played her in Cincinnati. I remember that she's solid. She hits strong. So I have just to move her, to be aggressive, and to play like today, but just the second set and the third set (smiling).

Q. Coming back to the nerves, most of us would be quite amazed that somebody is top of the world and gets into that...
SIMONA HALEP: I'm normal person, even if I am No. 1 in the world.

Q. So is that a good sign, that you are still keen to do well that you have these kind of nerves?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I think the nerves are really good. It means that you care about what you are doing and your desire is really big.

So I love that I'm still playing, I love that I'm in this situation, and every time when I get on court is like I'm really excited and nervous about everything, every moment, so that's why I feel it. And it's good.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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