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February 12, 2019

Simona Halep

Doha, Qatar

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It's been a busy week for you. How do you feel going into this tournament?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, yeah, it's been a great weekend in Czech. We played really well. I'm happy we could win that tie.

I'm happy to be back here in Doha. I have great memories. Always I play the good tennis. So I'm looking forward to feel the court a little bit and tomorrow to have the first match.

Q. Does it feel good to come to an event where you have done really well in the past?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, it feels great and you have confidence every time. I feel good. I feel healthy. I feel ready to start the tournament.

Q. On Sunday night, I saw you on TV cheering and then celebrating. Can you talk us through a little bit what happened since then and until you're here now?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, we celebrated all together after the match. It was maybe the best feeling with the team. It was great that we could win against Czech. They are so big in Fed Cup. It was big thing for us, huge one. We all were happy.

Yesterday I was all day on the trip because we had to go by car about four hours from the city we played to Vienna, and then I took the flight. I'm a little bit tired, honestly, but I have time to rest.

Q. Have you had much time to work with your new coach? And how is that going?
SIMONA HALEP: Only one week back home in Bucharest. I cannot say much, because it's just the beginning. He's a good person, and I hope the things will go okay and we get well together.

Q. And he's here this week with you?

Q. About the new coach, can you talk a little bit about the screening process of hiring him?
SIMONA HALEP: I met him in Australia for first time. I talked to him more than normal. In the past we just talked, "Hello," and "How are you?"

I always admired Goffin because I liked his game and also the fact that he's going into the court a lot. It's just a new collaboration. I don't have much to talk about because it's just the beginning, as I said, so we will see in the future how it works.

Q. Speaking about coach, Naomi Osaka just fired her coach. Of course you cannot speak for her, but you are kind of similar in the same situation, being No. 1 and still separate from the coach. So when you are even No. 1 and still when you feel like you need a new coach, what kind of thing you eager to get?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I cannot talk about her because I have no idea what happened. I have a feeling that was different, because Darren split because of the family. He wanted to stay home with the kids, so it's a different reason. I'm still friends with Darren, and we have a good connection with friendship.

Any time during your career I think you need a coach, so that's why I got one. It's impossible at this level to go alone to the tournaments and to play tennis. You need support, you need people around, so I am for the coach thing.

Q. Do you still feel the emotions of the weekend, or is the Fed Cup over and now a new tournament?
SIMONA HALEP: I still feel the emotions, and it's been great. And it's been for first time going to the semifinals in Fed Cup, so it means a lot.

But I have to reset, and tomorrow, for sure, I will be ready to start the tournament.

Q. Last year you was a No. 1 like Novak. Tsitsipas is one of the best young players. Can you describe me that Balkan secret: Romania, Serbia, Greece?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I don't know if it's a secret. I think we work hard and we really believe in our chances, in our game, in everything we do to be champions.

I also congratulate Tsitsipas because he's playing great. About Nole, I cannot say; the words are not enough.

Yeah, I'm happy because we all go through these tournaments and win, being No. 1. Tsitsipas maybe one day will be, so I wish him good luck.

Q. Is there any particular trait you look for in a coach that is important to you? And do you find any trick that is different that you need now that you are at the top of the game as against when you were younger and coming up? Is there anything that you would look at more than you did?
SIMONA HALEP: It is tough to say that it's only one thing. I think many things you have to do in a good way to be able to be in the top.

I have more experience. I'm more mature now. I see the things different. So I think all together help me to be a better person and a better player every time I step on the court.

Q. WTA has announced new rule for this season, allowing leggings and tights to be worn without a skirt or shorts. How do you feel about this step and what does it mean for you exactly?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I never played in tights, but, you know, when it's cold we need those, because to keep the muscles warm. But I would still keep the skirt over the tights.

Q. And just to follow up, there was some controversy last year with the French Open banning afterwards Serena Williams' cat suit. At the US Open we saw Cornet having issues, changing her top on court. Do you feel women, the rules are a bit stricter for women compared to the men?
SIMONA HALEP: The women always are different than men, so has to be something different there. Well, I didn't think at all at these reasons. It's long time ago what happen in French Open and US Open. I think the people who are taking care of this stuff, they know better what they should put as rules.

But, you know, I cannot comment. Everyone does what it wants, and I think the rules have to be respected.

Q. Just back on the question of coaches, I know you were with Darren for three or four years, but at the end of last year, there were many changes of coaches among the women. Naomi has now split with Sascha Bajin. Do you have any thoughts why there are so many changes of coaches more with the women than with the men?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I'm happy in the last four years I didn't change many coaches. I think it's tough to find someone to understand yourself, to get along so well. It's important. Is the most important person in your team, the coach, because you have to deal all the problems with him.

So I think has to be a compatibility between these two people, so it's not easy to find this person. I don't have an explanation why we changing so much, but I hope I won't that much.

Q. Is there a special connection between you and the people of Cluj-Napoca? Because I saw the fan club again.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, they were amazing coming, especially for us there, a long trip, because they came by bus so it was pretty tough. I really want to thank them again. It's been amazing atmosphere, and, yeah, we have a connection because we always play there. They have a big stadium, huge stadium, and they give us all the conditions to have the matches there, Fed Cup matches. So they are great.

Q. Do you fancy your chances this week here in Doha?
SIMONA HALEP: It's tough to say. I come from indoor courts, so it's gonna be a little bit difficult today. But I will try to practice. I will try to get used to the court, to the balls. I don't want to have expectations, because it's a tough tournament. Every match is difficult. So I will take match by match, and I will see how it's going to go.

Q. We saw you with the kids at the tennis clinic. How was it?
SIMONA HALEP: Amazing. I always love to spend time with the kids. They were very excited and very happy on court, so it gives me energy to start the day better.

Q. As you're now for the first time in the semis of Fed Cup, is this going to...

Q. Finally, exactly. So how will this be for you for the rest of the season compared to some other players?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, when I started this year, I said that it's the main goal to play really well in Fed Cup and to make a big result, and I keep that. I really wish we can win the next tie. It's gonna be huge for us, for our country, and I really have that desire to lift that trophy. It's amazing.

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