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May 25, 2018

Simona Halep

Paris, France

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. In Rome you had a tough final and you complained of being stiff. How are you feeling now?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I was a little bit tired after the semifinals, but was not about injuries. So I'm okay. I have no pain. I relaxed myself after a few days, and I'm training hard.

So I feel ready to start.

Q. What does it feel to be back here?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, it's great to be back here. It's always a pleasure to play in Roland Garros and also to come in Paris. I come also for holiday, so... I love this city.

It's a nice feeling. You know, it's great that I have one more year playing here. I'm enjoying the time. I'm thankful of everything I have and to be here again.

Q. You're chasing your first Grand Slam here. How do you put that to the back of your mind and focus on each match as it comes?
SIMONA HALEP: It's not that difficult to do that, because I know that every match is going to be very tough. It's a Grand Slam. Everyone is at the highest level here.

So it's going to be difficult. I'm not thinking about the title, because it's really far. I'm thinking just of my first match. It's going to be a tough one, but I have my chance.

So I will go there and I will take day by day.

Q. How would you describe your confidence levels coming into this year's tournament, say, to a year ago?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, a year ago was not about defending so many points, so it was a little bit different.

This year I come with, I can say, this pressure, but I don't want to focus on that one. Of course I have more confidence this year, because last year I was able to do a great result.

But doesn't mean that this year is going to be the same or can be better. You never know.

So I will take day by day, and I will see how the tournament goes, and then we all know.

So it's nothing to think about it, nothing to put, like, pressure and focusing on particular thing.

Q. What do you think of the draw? Do you have any idea of --
SIMONA HALEP: No, I saw only the first round, and I don't want to know (smiling).

Q. I would like to know your thoughts about Serena Williams' return to tennis, what do you expect her form to be, and if you think it's good thing for women's tennis that she's back?
SIMONA HALEP: Of course it's great for tennis that she's back. Maybe she needs a little bit more time to get again used to the tournaments and, like, everyday playing. In my opinion, I said many times, that she's able to come back and to win again tournaments.

She knows how to handle the pressure, how to handle all the situations. She's there for so many years.

So I think she will come back, and she will be good again.

Q. With coming into this tournament, maybe compared to a year ago even, how do you feel about your game right now? Do you feel there are some things that you've maybe improved that you feel you're doing better at now, or how do you feel about the current state of your game right now?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I think that I'm a better player if we compare to last year. I'm stronger mentally. I think I have worked a lot, and I have improved.

But, yeah, you don't put these things and then you can also compare the results. I just want to focus on what I have to do and also to get better and better. The results will come if I will improve.

So the main thing that I have in my mind is just to play my tennis, to play my game, and to be fit every time I step on the court.

Q. Going back to the Simona that won the junior French Open to the one...
SIMONA HALEP: Long time ago.

Q. It is. Not that long.
SIMONA HALEP: 10 years.

Q. But how different of a person are you now sitting there today as a person, character-wise, personality-wise, not talking about tennis?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I'm not that shy like 10 years ago. So I'm much better with you guys, talking better. (Smiling.)

But I am still the same impulsive girl on court, as well. Off court, as well.

Yeah, maybe the personality doesn't change that much, but you improve. So I feel more mature. Is normal.

I feel more relaxed about everything. And in general, life, I'm more open to the people. So I'm different.

Q. Are you here with your parents or your brother or...
SIMONA HALEP: They are coming soon.

Q. Soon?

Q. You said earlier that you come to Paris anyway for vacation, not just for the tournament. So when you come here for vacation, like, why do you like it and what do you do?
SIMONA HALEP: I just like to walk on the streets. It's really nice. This city is beautiful. Just to see all the buildings, to go to the parks. It's just nice.

I mean, I don't have reason, better reason than this. I just love this city, and that's why I come.

Q. You play Alison Riske first. Have you ever played her before and how do you look forward to that match?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I played I think two times. I won against her. I know how she's playing. I expect a tough one. She is a fighter girl, so she's not giving up at all, and I have just to be the same and to stay focused for every ball.

I expect a tough one, because it's also the first round of the tournament, and it's normal to be a little bit nervous, but I know I have my chance, and for sure I will fight for it.

Q. This is the first time in a while that we have had a slam where Serena, Maria, and Vika were all in the draw. I'm just curious if that makes any difference from the player perspective? Is there a different vibe? Different conversation? What's your sense?
SIMONA HALEP: Not really. Conversations, not at all. I'm not talking about this.

I didn't see the draw, so I don't know against who they are playing. Actually, I didn't see them here. Just Serena, because they are -- looks empty, feels empty, the club, but everyone is here, so it's a little bit strange.

I feel that now like everyone is here feels that the tournament is completed and everyone is here just to show that tennis is really nice and also that everyone can win it, and these girls are coming back, Vika, Serena, with the kid, which is amazing. Makes it a little bit different and also special.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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