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June 3, 2019

Simona Halep

Paris, France

S. HALEP/I. Swiatek

6-1, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. That was an unbelievable match. Would you consider this match as one of your best performances here at Roland Garros, or it was just proper work to do today?
SIMONA HALEP: No, I consider the best match here, I played really well, and actually maybe she was a little bit nervous playing on that court. She's young, very young. I expected a very tough one, because my coach told me that she's hitting -- it's tough to understand how she's playing. So I was ready for that, but it was much better than I thought.

Q. You played one 17-year-old today and next you're playing Anisimova, also 17.
SIMONA HALEP: I feel old.

Q. That was my question.
SIMONA HALEP: Very old (smiling). To play against someone 10 years younger than me, that's not easy. But I feel stronger on court. Today I felt, actually. We'll see the next one. They're young, they have nothing to lose, so every match is tough.

Q. On that same subject, when you were that age, did you actually fear players? Or did you go out...
SIMONA HALEP: I was not on Chatrier at 17. I was in quallies here (smiling).

Yeah, when you face someone that is higher ranked than you, you don't have, you know, fear. You just go and want to show your best tennis.

So I feel like they have this feeling all the time when they play with someone better ranked.

But also, I take my advantage, and I say that I'm experienced. So we will see.

Q. As a change, I wanted to ask you about your time off the court. How are you enjoying Paris? What are you doing to relax?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, every day when I had a day off, I was walking a little bit in the park next to my hotel. A little bit of shopping, but just 30, 40 minutes.

Taking lunch or a dinner in the city. So nothing special.

Q. Before the match, Iga said it was a dream to go up against you. Is there any part of you that feels a little bit bad about the nature of that win?
SIMONA HALEP: I can't say I feel bad, because I played my best tennis. I prefer to play like that.

But she needs many matches on those courts. She needs time. But for sure she will be high because at 18, if you're playing fourth round of a Grand Slam, that means a lot. So she will be all right after this.

Q. You have said that at the start you were nervous the first couple of games, they were challenging. Do you feel you're getting into it? They often say getting through the first week is the key and then in the second week it feels like the slam begins. Do you feel that?
SIMONA HALEP: I feel that the first two matches, two, three matches are tougher in a Grand Slam. And if you pass them, you feel better.

I feel better right now, but every match is tough at this level. So if you're in the second week, your expectations are bigger. So I expect more from myself.

Today I was really good on court, and I'm happy about that. Next round is just a big challenge to go through this tournament. Is my favorite Grand Slam, so I will do my best.

Q. You have never defended a Grand Slam before.
SIMONA HALEP: Because I have only one (smiling).

Q. And a lot of people have struggled with it but it doesn't seem like you have. So I'm curious, has this felt any different to a normal tournament or a normal title defense?
SIMONA HALEP: No, I saw it different since the beginning. I felt different. I felt more relaxed, even if the pressure was on.

I feel good in this position, and I always say that even if you're No. 1, you win a Grand Slam, you have to enjoy the moment. So I did that pretty well this year.

Back to the quarterfinals is not easy, so I'm thinking just to give my best again next round. It's just what I'm thinking about.

Q. You have said already that the fourth round should mean a lot for a very young player. From your experience, what should this mean for her to being in the fourth round at the age of 18?
SIMONA HALEP: It's tough, because I was not in that position so early. But I think she has to take the confidence and also to believe more that she has a chance to be in the top. She beat good players. She played fourth round of a Grand Slam. At 18 means a lot, and I'm sure that she's gonna go high, like, only up now.

Q. You mentioned that you weren't at this stage when you were 17. You broke through later than some other players. I'm curious if that helped you in any way, not having success really early in your career.
SIMONA HALEP: Probably. I cannot say different, because I don't know how is to win matches, big matches at 17.

My career was slowly, so I enjoyed more. I was patient, I worked hard. So I'm happy with the way it was and the way it is now. Because I have many years in the top, and I'm really pleased with the effort I have done these years.

Q. Your career has increased slowly, a little bit slower than, for example, Iga. Would you agree that increasing slowly, slower, is better than, you know, to make progress maybe too fast? Is it good for mental health, or is it bad?
SIMONA HALEP: I only see the positive of my career, so I would say that it's good to be slower, because you feel every step of your career and you learn something every year.

Yeah, I'm happy with the way it was. But also, for the teenagers that are at 17, 18 in the quarterfinals or something like this, it's also good. Means that they are different, they have more courage when they are young, and they see different things.

So both sides I think are good.

Q. I just wanted to ask, do you see any differences between your generation when you and your friends were at the same age mentally? Because, you know, times has changed. Do you see any differences between your generation and the newest one?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I think our generation, it was a little bit more shy, I can say. Now, this generation are more courage -- they have more courage, and they fight with any other player in the top. So they don't have, like, thoughts about that they are under them. So they have courage, and they go for it every match.

So I appreciate them. And also, it's good for tennis, because they see that the young players are in the top fast.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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