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September 22, 2019
Wuhan, Hubei, China
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Start of the Asian swing, how are you feeling about your tennis, your health?
SIMONA HALEP: It's good to be back in China. I played once very, very well here. Last year I couldn't perform because I was injured. So now I feel good. I feel healthy.
It's tough to come back after a period that I didn't have official matches. But today was good that I started doubles. I'm ready to start the tournament. Let's see what I can do here.
Q. This could be a stressful time here for a lot of players with the Finals coming up, qualifying. You didn't play last year in Asia, so don't have any points to defend. Does that maybe ease some of the pressure?
SIMONA HALEP: I'm relaxed about this period. Of course, I want to do the most. But is not going to be that easy.
I'm ready. I practiced very well. I work hard before coming here. Since I came here, I also work hard on the court and off court, as well.
I'm just positive about this period. We will see if I can just be better than previous years. I want that. I want to give everything I have for the last tournaments.
Q. You made a big announcement a few weeks about reuniting with Darren in 2020. How did that decision come about?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, Darren told me that he's ready to start with me again for the next year. He just left it in my hands how I can announce. I felt that I have to do a video, personal video, which I don't do very often. But for this thing, I thought it's the best way to announce.
I was really happy that he comes back.
Q. Did it take multiple takes to film the video or all in one?
SIMONA HALEP: Second time. Second time was decent, so I posted it.
Q. Your thoughts about the return of Kim Clijsters, what your reaction is to it? What do you think it will be like to play her when she's back?
SIMONA HALEP: My reaction was like, wow, a little bit shocked honestly. To have three kids, I think she has three kids home, she wants to come back, it's a big, big thing in my opinion. It's very impressive.
Now that I have the chance to play against her again, I would like to, because she beat me once in Brisbane. I really couldn't forget that match. If there is a chance to play against her again, I will be happy.
She was very nice to me every time after losing the finals in Grand Slams. Yeah, she's very nice.
Q. On the reunion with Darren, I know throughout the year both of you have been very open about that you could come back together, it's not over. At what point for you did it become very clear the reunion would happen? Did it help you knowing the break wasn't necessarily permanent?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, honestly, as everyone knows, Darren was not very away from my career this year. He was behind. He was helping me a lot during Wimbledon the most. He is part of that success, for sure.
I had no clear answer until after US Open when he really told me that 100% I can come back. I didn't make it in my head that he's going to be for sure next year in my team, so I was waiting until he told me 100% sure that he comes back. Was after US Open.
Since then I'm really happy and I feel confident that next year I can do some good things again.
Q. As you look towards the end of the year, what are the goals for the next few weeks? How important is it for you to obviously qualify for Shenzhen and potentially win the Finals? Year-end No. 1 is potentially within reach. How do you judge those goals?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, very, very tough goals honestly. After winning Wimbledon, I was a little bit let's say more relaxed in results, making big results. But I'm still motivated. I'm working hard.
For this period I just want to be better because every year I promised myself that I will do the best I can, and I couldn't for different reasons. Now I feel healthy, I feel motivated, I feel fresh. I just want to go there and win every match I play.
I don't want to set goals for this period. I just want to enjoy more and more this period and this country. It's not easy for me because of the food and stuff. But I do my best every day. I'm trying to have more matches. That's why I'm playing doubles, as well.
We will see how the year is going to be like at the end.
Q. What do you remember from this match against Kim in Brisbane? Why couldn't you forget it?
SIMONA HALEP: Because I had like 0-6 one set. I never forget when I take 6-0. I don't forget the way she was hitting the ball very strong. Her position is always aggressive, close to the baseline. She hits every ball, she has it.
I have things to learn from her. It's good to be back on court with her. It's going to be very good for the tennis.
Q. The tour is in quite a cool place at the moment that you have a mother of three coming back, at the same time you have Bianca Andreescu at 19 doing what she's doing. Naomi is young as well. What is your view of the kind of variety the tour has now?
SIMONA HALEP: We can see also many personalities, like different people on tour. Also mothers. Also teenagers. Everyone we should admire because we fight with some things. Mentally, as well.
I can say I'm really admiring Serena, that she play four Grand Slam finals in the last five. Then seeing Vondrousova in the final. Barty won the first Grand Slam. Anisimova beat me in French Open. I cannot forget that. I think it's mixed in this moment, the WTA Tour. I really enjoy it.
You never know what to expect from a match. You have to be 100% focused. Who has the chance to give everything, to give the best in every match, has the chance to be in the top.
It's good for me also because I always have to be 100%. In the last six years, I've been in the top. Every player motivates me every time I play, whether is over 30 or under 20.
It's a good mix. I think it's good for everyone.
Q. You mentioned the challenge of playing in Asia. For this tournament, they have some player perks like the foot massage. Have you tried this or are you planning?
SIMONA HALEP: I haven't tried it, but I really want to do the foot massage because it's the best thing. I love doing foot massage. I didn't have the chance.
I will ask. If you have any recommendation, I will take it. Just let me know (smiling).
Q. The season is not done yet, so things can change. As you reflect on this year, especially coming after what was seemingly a very important season for you last year, how do you sum up this year? How proud are you of yourself?
SIMONA HALEP: To win Wimbledon I think is everything. I'm really proud of my performance over there. I played my best tennis. I beat great players. I can say that was one of my best years so far. Is not finished yet, but doesn't matter any more in my opinion.
I just want to be thankful that I could finally feel the grass court. Before it was really difficult to feel the game, to feel the bounce of the ball. Also the crowd is very quiet there. I love that. But then going to US Open and have so much different stuff, it's tough to adjust.
But I'm not disappointed that I lost in US Open so fast. Of course, I was sad, I was upset, because I lost from match point. But I take the positives from this year. Next year I'm sure that I can do something great again. I just have to be patient and working hard.
Q. Does Wimbledon affect the way you approach future matches? Like why can't I play at that level again? Does it make you feel you can always go up a notch?
SIMONA HALEP: We don't have two days the same in this life. It's tough to expect to repeat something. I just want to do the best I can today, tomorrow, yesterday. I try just to work hard and to be thinking about how to improve in myself.
I'm not trying and I'm not thinking to repeat what I did in Wimbledon. Of course, that's maybe the best level of my tennis game. I'm trying just to be healthy, to be positive and to be confident. If you are confident, you have a better chance to reach the highest level of yourself. I'm doing that.
Also I'm still working on attitude, to be the best version of myself every time I step on the court. I think this is the main goal.
Tennis, it's coming by itself.
Q. After winning French Open, which is the one you wanted, and Wimbledon which is probably you thought was the furthest away...
SIMONA HALEP: Impossible.
Q. ...then your success as a hard court player, do you allow yourself to start thinking about the possibility of winning all four?
SIMONA HALEP: I have this possibility in my mind, I have to admit. I know it's difficult. But after Wimbledon, I feel like everything is possible in this world.
I will try just to work hard on the hard courts, to do what I need to do. On grass courts, I changed a little bit the game, and helped me. Now I have to adjust my game to hard courts more and more.
I had great results in the past. I had final in Melbourne. My main goal for this next years, let's say, it's to win the Australian Open because Darren is back and I'm sure he wants to win home.
THE MODERATOR: Questions in Chinese.
Q. In the past six years you've come to Wuhan consistently. I would like to ask what is so special to you? From the very beginning till this year, any comments on the changes to Wuhan as a city?
SIMONA HALEP: We have two days with the sun out. Actually today I got a little bit burned, so doesn't happen very often here.
The tournament is improving a lot. Also the conditions. The people are, like, very nice to us. It's a pleasure to come here.
I'm a little bit sad that I couldn't play my best tennis when I came here. But I played one semifinal, so I hope to repeat that soon, until I get retired.
It's nice to see different places. It's nice to see the people that are coming to watch us. Many kids I saw. I was talking to them after my doubles. So it's nice. It's a new experience. It's a good experience for everybody to come here.
Q. This is your sixth time to celebrate your birthday in Wuhan. This is very special for you. In the past six years, any special thing that really impressed you about celebrating your birthday here? Any special places you've visited in Wuhan?
SIMONA HALEP: I have received many letters with birthday wishes, so it's very special thing. This year I expect a bigger cake, though. Let's see if the tournament will bring me one (smiling).
Yeah, it's nice to have a different place to celebrate the birthday, for sure.
Q. What is your favorite Wuhan snack?
SIMONA HALEP: Give me some options because I have no idea.
Q. Do you like dumplings?
SIMONA HALEP: Dumplings. I had yesterday at players party with vegetables inside. That's my favorite.
Q. Do you ever worry about gaining weight?
SIMONA HALEP: Weight, like to be fat?
SIMONA HALEP: No. I'm very stable, 60, 61 (laughter). In China, I cannot get fat.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports