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January 13, 2020

Simona Halep

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How do you feel heading into the tournament? Talk to us a bit about your off-season.
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I feel good. I feel healthy. I have no problems. I had the chance to train properly in the off-season. I've been to Dubai. So I enjoyed a lot the time there.

I work hard. I feel much better than last year when I started the year. Now we have just to play and to see how is going to go.

I'm excited to be here. I'm ready to start tomorrow my singles match. Is nothing easy, so I'm ready for a tough battles this year. Actually being the first tournament, I know is going to be a little bit more difficult. But it's difficult for everybody.

I'm going to keep focusing on myself as I did before.

Q. How are you finding the weather here and are you enjoying your time here so far?
SIMONA HALEP: Today has been a little bit too hot for me, playing doubles in the sun. Actually I didn't play much in the sun because we are lucky of the roof. It's really nice to play away from the sun. Today was a little bit difficult.

But I like this city. It's like kind of home, let's say, because Darren is from here. I spent the Christmas here few years ago. It's a nice city. Also the people are very friendly to me, so makes me feel great.

Q. You mentioned on Twitter you were going to donate some money for the bush fires for every spat you had at Darren. Does it count in this tournament in the doubles or tomorrow?
SIMONA HALEP: Every day I have. Every time I play an official match, I have these looks (laughter). Yeah, I note on my notebook every time I do a bad face on court. I will donate in the end of the Australian season.

Q. Have you had a chance to go out to Port Adelaide Football Club this time around?
SIMONA HALEP: Not yet. But soon I will go there. I will meet the whole team. I'm really excited about it.

Q. What are the advantages for you starting your season in week two of a calendar?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, like last year, I wanted to take an extra week home. I know it was delayed this year one week later. But still I wanted to make sure I'm ready to start the tournament. I didn't want to force myself.

I spent Christmas home, a New Year Eve party, which was great actually. Now I feel great with this decision. I think it's good.

Q. You sound quite relaxed to start the year. Talk about your mindset coming into the new season with the goals I'm sure you and Darren have talked about, what you want to achieve in what is a big year with Olympics...
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I'm not that relaxed, honestly. Maybe I look like (laughter). I'm a little bit stressed because I have worked hard in the off-season. Coming here 10 days before, it was a good thing for me. But still now I can say I have bigger expectations from myself. I feel the stress.

But Darren told me that it's not about just this month, it's about the whole year, everything I have done before in the off-season.

So I try just to play matches because I need matches, then to relax myself like I did the last two years. I feel like actually last year I've been much better with this stuff, and now I'm trying to improve more and more.

I need to be relaxed and I need to enjoy more. So my goal for this year is, of course, a Grand Slam, I started to like it, and my priority is the Olympics. I really want a medal. Doesn't matter which one or where, like singles, doubles, mixed. I just want one. I will do everything I can to do that.

Q. Was losing in the doubles today a little bit disappointing or is your focus on the singles?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I've been very disappointed because we were leading the first set, we took the second set, and the tiebreak was a disaster. Yeah, I was a little bit upset after.

But it's a match, it's a doubles match. I'm not very used to it. I will take it as a positive. It was good that I had the match before my singles tomorrow.

Q. When you say whether it's mixed or whatever at the Olympics, are you going to try to practice more doubles this year? Did you get any tips from the Colombians in the charity match yesterday?
SIMONA HALEP: It's too tough to take some tips because I'm not that good, at the net especially.

Well, I'm not going to play more than normal. I still focus on my singles. But if we have the chance, I will try to play more with my partners, with Horia in mixed. Hopefully we can during the three Grand Slams, the first three Grand Slams. And doubles, I normally I play with Irina Begu. Every time we can, we will play.

Q. You heard a lot about Adelaide from Darren. When you came to Adelaide for the first time, did anything surprise you? Was it how he described it?
SIMONA HALEP: It was a nice surprise that it's similar to my hometown back home. It's actually very similar. Also the people are a little bit slower, so like here. But it's a good slow thing.

Not really. It is a nice city. Also the fact that he came back to live here means a lot. Family comes first always. It's nice that they are together, and that I have the chance to be with them here.

Q. What in your game are you looking to improve over the next couple of weeks?
SIMONA HALEP: If I didn't improve in December, I have no chance to improve in two weeks. I tried, yeah, to do some things extra that I've been doing in the past. But my game, it's pretty much the same. So no big changes at this age. I'm old already.

I'm trying just to get stronger on what I have good.

Q. During the off-season working with Darren again, did it feel new or the same?
SIMONA HALEP: Same, yeah. Same. It was a good time. I had an extra coach, Arte, which I started with him to play, a Romanian coach. He was there with us in Dubai. He's here also. We will work together.

But with Darren, it's a nice feeling always. So, yeah, I got used to him. I like a lot to have him by my side.

Q. Talk more about Arte, how you know him, how you made the decision. I assume he's going to be more of your traveling coach.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I know him since long time, but we never worked together. I knew him from Irina Begu. They worked five years and did a great job together.

I finished with Daniel Dobre before because I needed a change. But he's done a great job with me the whole year. Thanks to him that he was actually supporting me all the way, also in Wimbledon, was not easy. But I'm sure it was a nice experience for him, too.

With Arte, I have decided that I need the new voice in my team. He can travel a lot. So he will be by my side most of the tournaments, also where Darren cannot come.

I think now it's a good team around me, like always actually. I feel happy that it's something new here. I hope in good spirits.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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