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May 28, 2019

Simona Halep

Paris, France

S. HALEP/A. Tomljanovic

6-2, 3-6, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Quite the fight today. Just talk us through what happened to you out there today.
SIMONA HALEP: Well, in my opinion, it was a great match. The level was great, and actually her level in the second set was really high.

So I had to be focused more on myself to find out what I have to play better in the third set to be able to win. And then I just started to feel that if I make her move, it's a little bit better for me, so I did that.

Of course it was not easy because of the emotions, the pressure, but it's always nice to go back on that court.

So I had nice emotions, and I'm really happy that I could win the match. Now I can play the second round here.

Q. You talked about the emotions. Chatrier court looks a little bit different right now. What do you feel about the new court? Does it play any differently?
SIMONA HALEP: No. I try just to keep it simple. The sound is a little bit different, but the clay is the same and also the size of the court, down, is the same. So I had the same feeling as last year.

In my opinion, I felt really well for the first round, and I am confident now.

Q. You have told us in the past that you have very high expectations of yourself, and sometimes you can be a little hard on yourself. But you have learned to play with joy and freedom and a smile. As the Roland Garros champion this year, who do you think the toughest opponent will be: The person on the other side of the net or yourself?
SIMONA HALEP: Good question. First, I will talk about myself. Yeah, I need to be calm. I need to be really focused on my game just not thinking about the opponents and not thinking about the result.

I feel like I have improved a lot in this year since I won here. I'm a different person. I'm a better person. And now what it comes, it comes as a bonus. So I'm trying just to give my best every time I step on the court.

And about the opponents, it's really tough to talk about, because every match is different. Every match is tough.

So my mind, it's 100% on the next round, just about that, so nothing else.

Q. Naomi Osaka was in here and she was talking about how she felt some pressure maybe from having No. 1 attached to her. As a defending champion playing here in the first round, did you feel those nerves?
SIMONA HALEP: I had different nerves, for sure, because I'm the first time in this position to be the defending champion. But it's a nice feeling, so I can't complain. It's nice to be in this position.

I don't put pressure on myself, negative pressure. Of course I feel the pressure, because I have also expectations for myself. I always play well here, so I want also this year to be the same.

But I'm not going to put pressure on myself for the result. I don't know what is going to be. I have just to take the next round 100% serious, and then if I can go through, I will think about the third round.

But for the moment, I just want to enjoy my victory from today.

Q. Some players say for the first match they want an easy match to keep their energy. Some like have a tough match because they can enter right in the tournament. What is your position?
SIMONA HALEP: My opinion is both things are good. If you have an easy match, it's good, because you keep the energy. But also, if you have a tough match, gets you in the tournament. So I see only positive from both sides.

Today it was a good match. It was not very long, but it was very intense. So I feel ready for the next round, and it's good that tomorrow I will have one day off. So I'm all in.

Q. You told us in Stuttgart that you were looking forward to doing everything that you were asked of as a defending champion. So in the buildup, what was your favorite thing to do?
SIMONA HALEP: To step on this beautiful court and to see the crowd (smiling). They were very nice to me again today.

And the fact that I am 100% fit to be able to play this tournament and to have the chance to leave everything I have on court, I think it's the best thing that can happen to me. I am positive. I am with energy. So I have just to enjoy and not putting pressure, because it's a nice tournament.

Q. Now you are the champion. How do you feel about...
SIMONA HALEP: I have been the champion last year. This year is different.

Q. But you are still, at the moment, you are still. No one has taken it off you. So how do you feel about yourself? Do you feel the same as 12 months ago or do you feel differently now?
SIMONA HALEP: Different, for sure. I have touched the No. 1 place two times the end of the year. I have the Grand Slam. So everything, it comes now, as I said, it's a bonus. And I see tennis different. I see my life different. So I'm happy about everything it's happening, and I try -- my main goal now is just to see how good I can be this year and maybe few more years. We will see.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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