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March 10, 2019

Simona Halep

Indian Wells, California

S. HALEP/K. Kozlova

7-6, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. A little bit of a wobble at the end of the first and second set but able to get it done in two. Was a little bit of tightness maybe closing it out?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I think she played really well. When I was leading the match, she played without fear and just -- I mean, I felt like she was playing much better in those games. It was difficult for me to close those sets.

But I'm actually proud that I could do that. It was also cold a little bit, so the conditions were not easy today.

But I think it was a good level of tennis, both of us. We played okay.

Q. Are you concerned at all with the temperatures? Just because I know you prefer to play in warmer weather.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, because of my back (smiling). But was not that bad today. It was good. We didn't have wind. So it was much better than before.

But for both of us is the same, so I'm not gonna complain about it. I just want to adjust as good as possible.

Q. Kind of a big-picture question. A tennis career is, in part, based on the decisions players make over the years. You have had so much success. Could you take a moment and just share with us what the best one or two decisions in your career have been and maybe a decision or two that wasn't so good?
SIMONA HALEP: As far as we see the results, I think I took good decisions (smiling). So it's a big positive.

Well, many things you have to decide during your career. I think every week you have to adjust things. Actually, every day, if you think about it.

It's tough to say now what decisions I took, but every coach that I had was really important for me in my career, and they put something on the big house. The people around me, the team, I think it's very important. The people that are supporting me, family always, the friends by my side.

So I think the most important thing in your career on the tour is to have the right people around you and to learn from them, to get positive energy from them.

So I think these decisions that I have taken with the people around me were the most important.

Q. Is there one or two things specifically in terms of selecting a coach, knowledge of the game, chemistries...
SIMONA HALEP: The biggest one was when I started to work with Darren four years ago here.

Q. He gave you a lot?
SIMONA HALEP: He gave me a lot. Many things that I have learned. The fact that I could become No. 1 and winning a Grand Slam is because of him.

Q. We talked to you a lot about coaches, and obviously Darren and everything, but Andrei and Teo have been there with you for a long time, as well. I don't think we know very much about either of them, but they are your boys. Can you tell us a little bit about them and what make them kind of your go-to foundations right now?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I know Teo since I was 10. It's a little bit -- yeah, a lot. He's a good guy. He's like a big brother for me. He's not just my trainer. Actually, my team is not like, you know, he's my physio and I am "the boss." It's just like a little family, and I'm trying just to share with them everything, normal, equal. So, yeah, I don't see in that direction "the boys."

I think they are very professional, as well. We work hard every day. They understand myself, so they don't just follow the instructions from the book. They just adjust their selves also on myself.

So I think these things are really important to be successful.

Q. For professional players today, mental strength is a big part of the game, as well. How do you practice that? Do you have a mental coach that you see regularly, or how do you cope with that?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, yeah, I think tennis now, the most important part is the mental part. I have worked for few years already, I think, two years, with psychologist. I'm still doing that.

It's not easy to stay focused every day to get the maximum of yourself, but I have learned these things. Now I'm still working on them, and I just want to improve more and more.

Q. And during a game, what's your key to stay focused?
SIMONA HALEP: I cannot say that. I keep it for myself. Sorry (smiling).

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the takeaways, what you have learned from working with a psychologist? It's an important experience.
SIMONA HALEP: To understand myself. I think that's the most important thing. And if you understand yourself, if you accept yourself with bad and good, you can improve.

So I did that, and that's why I'm much better now.

Q. If I could switch topics, you love your country so much. It's a wonderful country: Mountains, cities, many different peoples, great history. What do you love? What gives you the most pride about your country?
SIMONA HALEP: Because I am born from there. I'm born there, and I see, like, a positive thing.

I'm very successful in tennis without having a big system, which makes me feeling stronger. The atmosphere back home, so if I'm born there, I feel like I belong there, and that's why I go with pleasure back always.

And every time I need to recharge my batteries, I go home. I have my family. I have my relatives and friends. So I think, again, the people make the place better.

Q. Roger once said, you know, there was a chance he could have been South African, could have been Australian because of where his family was traveling. Did your parents... No? It was always going to be Romania?
SIMONA HALEP: Romania. And not even now thinking that I can move, so... if you can imagine (smiling).

Q. This tournament is much appreciated by all the fans. I know that you players love the tournament, as well. From you personally, what do you love most about this tournament?
SIMONA HALEP: The place, first, and the fact that we can be so close to the fans and so many people are coming. Everything, it's open. We can share the energy, the love of tennis.

So I think these things makes this tournament very special, and also, you know, the views. Everywhere you go, you have a beautiful view. Also from the court, when you practice, you see the mountains.

It's beautiful, and that's why we really love the place.

Q. So you can feel that it is special in that way?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I feel.

Q. You have Ostapenko or Vondrousova next.
SIMONA HALEP: I had no idea.

Q. Can you talk through just the different matchups there? And when you play Jelena now, now that it's been a while since the French Open...
SIMONA HALEP: Come on, I played in Beijing. So I remember only that match, not the French Open one (smiling).

It's always tough against her. She's hitting that ball very strong, and you never know where it's going, the ball. So you have to be focused for every single shot, every single point.

I'm ready against her. I know what I have to play. So hopefully I can play my best.

And Vondrousova? I don't know if I played against her. Yeah, I don't think so. So it's going to be, again, something new. It's not easy.

But I'm ready. So I'm just focusing on myself and we will see how it's gonna be.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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