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August 23, 2019

Simona Halep

New York, NY, USA

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Just a question about Wimbledon. Do you guys already pack a dress in case you win at the tournament to go to the ball at Wimbledon?
SIMONA HALEP: No, I haven't had one, so I just bought it Sunday morning. I went to the city and I just find a dress.

Q. Can you just talk about how you're feeling and your confidence levels going into this tournament? Physically, last year you had so much that you played leading up and you were probably a little bit tired. How do you compare how you go in this year compared to last year?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, it's much better this year because I didn't play so many matches, in a way, but in the other way, the confidence is not that high. But it cannot be worse than last year and the last two years, actually, to lose in the first round.

Now I'm really, really good. I'm feeling healthy. I'm feeling fresh to start the new tournament. The pressure is a little bit on, but I'm not thinking about the result at all.

I did my job this year, let's say, and now I just have expectations from myself, how good I can be on court, and just, like, feeling good, feeling happy, feeling relaxed.

I just want to be closer to the rhythm that I had in Wimbledon. So I'm trying that and nothing about the results. I will take day by day.

Q. You had the experience of playing Maria in the first round at the US Open a couple years ago. This year Serena has to do it. Curious what you make of that matchup, if you're going to watch, and if you are relieved to not have that be your issue this year?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, it's okay. We don't talk about that. It's past, so we just live the present.

It's going to be a big match, definitely. I think it's going to be Monday, right? If it's Monday, then I will watch it. If it's Tuesday, I don't because I have a match. So we'll see.

Q. You just said, My job is done this year, which is understandable with a Wimbledon championship. But some players would say, My job is just beginning, I want more and more and more and more.
SIMONA HALEP: I didn't say I don't want more. I said that the pressure of doing something special, it's off. Now what comes, comes as a bonus.

So I'm still working, I'm still motivated to win titles. Now I started to feel more and more that I'm capable to do that, winning in Wimbledon, so my confidence is very high but doesn't mean that this week I'm going to be the same.

You never know. I don't want to put expectations, like clear expectations on myself. I just want to take day by day and to see how good I can be every tournament.

Q. Do you feel that you're at the peak of your career right now? If not, what do you think you need to do to get to that peak, especially to win your first US Open?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I feel like I have the right game, I have the right physical condition to win a tournament, and to win a Grand Slam as I did already two times.

But is never easy to start Grand Slam and to think about that. I never thought that I will win the tournament. I just go there. I give everything I have for every match I play. If you keep working hard, then you have a better chance. So this is my mentality, and I will keep it forever.

Q. Coco Gauff has gotten a lot of attention coming into this slam. You played her at Wimbledon. Curious how does someone stay sane through all of that attention and pressure at such a young age?
SIMONA HALEP: So, yeah, we can say she might have pressure, that she's very young, but also, she has nothing to lose, being so young.

So I see only positive in her way now, and if she just controls the emotions and the fact that the people are talking about her, she's going to be very good.

Q. As a young Romanian athlete, what did you think of Nadia Comaneci growing up? And what do you remember about the first time you met her?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, for me, I was following sport but not that much when I was a kid. I just played tennis. I loved tennis. But Nadia was an inspiration for all of us. Doesn't matter which sport we had to do at that time. And she's still a motivation for everybody.

I don't remember when I met her first time, but was about maybe six, seven years ago. Now I can say that we are closer, we are friends, and when she has a possibility she comes to see my match. I'm really pleased and very honored for that.

Q. Bianca Andreescu, I know you talked about how you have worked with her, practiced with her in the past. What have you seen from her this year? You practiced with her a couple years ago?
SIMONA HALEP: Only once.

Q. What do you see from her this year on the tour and her rise as a 19-year-old? You could potentially face her down the road here at the Open.
SIMONA HALEP: First I have to win the first match here.

About Bianca, I always said she's a fighter and she deserves to win these matches because she doesn't give up. She's working hard, as I heard. So I have no connection with her, like, we are not friends or something. I just told her at that time, few years ago, to get professional because she has enough power to do that. But that's it. It's not my credit here.

She's a good player, and I'm sure that she can win more.

Q. Obviously this tournament is a very different atmosphere, even this situation right now. Yeah, how different is it for you from the French and Wimbledon? Is it getting any easier? I know you're not a huge fan of the hectic New York environment.
SIMONA HALEP: Well, it's a little bit too much for me, I have to admit that, but I'm getting used to it more and more. I try to adjust myself as much as possible to this atmosphere. It's loud and it's different. Many people around.

I like it, but being spectator. Being a player, it's a little bit tougher for me, but year by year I'm getting better. So I have to work to improve more.

Q. What's the challenge for you? You made the semifinal here, but what's the challenge for you to win this title? Based on your experience in the past, what's the toughest thing about the US Open for you to win?
SIMONA HALEP: To play in this atmosphere. It's very loud. Everything happens during the match is a little bit different and it's a lot for me.

As I said before, I'm getting used to it more and more. Hopefully in one day I can be, like, fully relaxed when I play a match.

Q. The US Open is unique because it has a lot of energy, the noise, the energy, and New York sometimes swallows players and their emotions, how they spend their time. Can you share with us what do you do in the city and if you try to pace yourself, being aware that sometimes it can be too much?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, you never know what to expect. You expect very loud crowds. You expect loud atmosphere here. I'm trying just to stay on my rhythm. I have my restaurants where I'm going. As I said, I went to Central Park just to relax myself.

So I'm doing easy things to get the rhythm, to get the pace that I need.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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