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July 9, 2019

Simona Halep

Wimbledon, London, England

S. HALEP/Zhang Shuai

7-6, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You didn't play on Centre Court today, but you have before. Of all the walks that you take in tennis, how would you describe that walk from the locker room to Centre Court here? What makes it different than every place else?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, Centre Court here is the most beautiful court and also the entrance is the best. It's something different. Very elegant and special. You have carpet on the floor. The door is beautiful.

Yeah, I hope Thursday I will play there to enjoy the court. It's the best.

Q. That was quite a battle in the first set. Where do you think you turned it around? Second set more comfortable.
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I have expected her to play so well. She beat me the last two times that we played. I was a little bit nervous before the match, a little bit stressed. I knew that she's going to come and hit the balls very strong.

Also when she hits them, the ball doesn't bounce that much. It's really tough to return. But I kept fighting. I knew that I have to be 100% for every ball, then I will break her rhythm a little bit. It happened in the second set.

Q. In the 1-4 game, the long game in the first set?
SIMONA HALEP: Which one?

Q. From 1-4 down.
SIMONA HALEP: Oh, yeah, she had 40-15.

Q. It was a long game and lasted over 10 minutes. You ended up saving the breakpoints and holding. What were you kind of telling yourself getting out of that game? That seemed like a very big moment.
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I don't really remember what I thought at that moment (smiling).

Winning that match, I really believed that I'm still in the set. If the score would have been, like, 5-1, I think the set would have been gone. I just kept motivating myself and believed that I can turn it around.

But I don't really remember what happened in that moment. At least I played really well, even if was 4-1 down. I played okay. But I played wrong tactical.

Q. You've been in the semifinals here five years ago. Can you go back to that semifinal you lost.
SIMONA HALEP: No. It's a new year, new edition, so I will not think about that semifinal (smiling).

Q. You've not learned anything from that? Anything you'd do differently?
SIMONA HALEP: I'm a different person. Everything changed. I have a lot of experience now. I'm more confident. I love grass. It's first time when I say that (laughter).

I think it's a big challenge for me, next match. But I will take it like I took every match since I'm here. I'm relaxed. I'm happy. I'm motivated to win.

Q. Talk about each of your possible opponents. Svitolina and Muchova. What do you expect from each of them?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, every time was tough against Svitolina. I expect a tough one also again. It's semifinals, so doesn't matter how many times you played before or how the score is, you just have to give your best and to try to win.

Against Muchova, I never played. I heard she plays a little bit more to the net. So I will check a little bit if I will play against her. I will see what tactic I have to make.

Q. Can you talk about your opponent today. She said she's been working really hard to improve. What have you noticed that was different about her, especially in the first five games?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I really think that she always played well against me, at least when she beat me it was really tough to return the balls and to get the rhythm.

Today happened a little bit at the beginning. But I knew that I have to be strong and not going back too far from the court. So I stayed a little bit more aggressive. She serves very, very well. She hits the ball strong. I think she improved in forehand also. It's strong on both ways.

Yeah, I think she has a great game.

Q. You finally said you love grass. What was the conversion? Was it a dream, a lightning bolt came down?
SIMONA HALEP: Because I'm in semifinals (smiling).

No, I started to feel more comfortable on the court. I didn't slide at all this tournament. Hope I will be the same in the next match.

It's a little bit dangerous when you play on grass because the feet are not really stable as you are on hard court or clay court. That's why I prefer those surfaces.

But now I started to feel it, to have it in my hands, to have it in my legs, and also in my mind, which is very important. I could do many things this tournament already to make the court work for me, like to play a little bit wider, then the ball slides a little bit because it's a grass court.

I try just to adjust myself, my body, to this court. I feel more confident now. Every time the ball comes to me, I feel like I know what to do with it, which is important.

Q. Having won the French Open, then having gone through the phase of being the defending champion, do you feel now there's a lot less pressure on you that's helping your mindset and game for playing here?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, the pressure is off, but it's been since last year. French Open was not a negative pressure. I felt it because, of course, I was the defending champion. But it was a new experience. I saw how it is to lose after you win a title. Nobody died.

I just came here relaxed. I came here motivated to see how good I can be on grass. I'm happy on court. I think this helps me a lot.

Q. Are you able to tell us when you were a little girl your first memory of Wimbledon, any dreams that you might have had back then?
SIMONA HALEP: I think 2007 I lost third round in juniors. Yeah, long time ago. I'm getting older, so it's tough to remember.

I always liked the greens here, the flowers, the fact you have to play in white, also in juniors you have to play in white. All the walls, you see the champions. When you get there on the Centre Court, you see the trophies. So is something special.

It's very elegant tournament which brings a positive vibe all the time. When I came here this year, took me many years, but this year I said it's really impressive to win this tournament because then you become a member of this, so would be great honestly.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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