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January 14, 2020

Simona Halep

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

S. HALEP/A. Tomljanovic

6-4, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How did you feel tonight? Ajla is a good player, we know, but was it also because it was a first match, an early match, and getting used to it?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, it was a little bit, but also the previous matches against her were very tough. I kind of expected the way actually she played today.

She hits very strong some balls, and she tries to dominate the match. It was a little bit tough that it was the first match of the year, and even if you practice weeks in a row, it's not like you play a match.

So I need a little bit of time. I need some matches and then I can feel it better. But it was okay.

Q. Were you feeling a little bit frustrated on occasions?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I did. I got tired, actually, a little bit in the second set at the beginning. I expected to get tired because it's different, as I said, to play ball over ball fast.

I had a code violation, a warning today which doesn't happen very often (smiling). So, yeah, it was a tough one, definitely.

Q. Does it sort of feel strange playing in Darren's hometown?
SIMONA HALEP: It feels a little bit strange, but also a nice feeling because everyone is very friendly with me. Actually, this morning I have been to the Port Adelaide Club and I met all the players, about 40 all together. We had a very nice time together, and they actually inspired me.

So I feel like always I have a warm welcome here in this city, and I play with pleasure.

Q. Considering it was your first match of the year in singles, what were you pleased with? Which parts of your game did you feel was working well and what do you think wasn't working well?
SIMONA HALEP: I feel like I served pretty well today, seven aces, so it's good for the donation.

And also I was moving pretty well. I was strong on my legs. I could respond very well at her very hard balls.

So I feel like I trained okay. I trained the right way in the offseason. Now I need time to put everything in play but better and better.

Q. Is it maybe a perfect preparation in terms of having this match against a tough opponent that made you work very, very hard physically but then having a full day off tomorrow to kind of reset and, you know, get your head back...
SIMONA HALEP: Recover (smiling). I need to recover tomorrow.

As I said, I feel tired a little bit. It's always good to have tough matches, because you need this at the beginning and to get used to the pressure and tension during the matches.

So I'm pleased with the match from today, and I'm sure the next one is going to be maybe tougher.

Q. During the preseason, in terms of working on your game, as opposed to just knocking off the rust and getting into rhythm, what did you guys focus on, you and Darren? Was it serve, was it patterns, playing a certain type of way, or was it just getting the blood flowing, getting into shape and getting ready to play again?
SIMONA HALEP: It was nothing, like, specific one shot. It was all together. I wanted -- we, actually, wanted to get stronger at the end of the offseason, which I am. Also my muscles are a little bit stronger. I'm fitter.

So I think we did a great job. What it comes now probably it has to come, because I really work hard. Actually, I work the hardest since I started to play professional.

It was a good period, and I'm sure that those weeks will help me during this year, not just now. I don't want to rush and to say that I want now results this month. It's for the whole year.

Q. You're normally one of the fittest players on tour, anyway, before your very difficult preseason. So why was getting stronger a priority for you?
SIMONA HALEP: You want me to be honest what Darren said? That I'm getting older and I need to work more and to get strength to my legs, because the bones need actually more strength. So I'm starting to work more and more in the gym.

Q. Since you did your offseason in Dubai, was there a lot of beach work then, running to get your legs stronger?
SIMONA HALEP: Not a lot, but I did on the beach. I did in the gym, which I didn't do that often in the past. I did some running on the track fields, yeah.

I did everything. So I really work hard.

Q. You'll play either Sabalenka or Pera. If you play Sabalenka, can you just talk about that matchup? Another very big hitter.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, you never know what to expect against her, so I cannot really say exactly what I have to play. I just have to be like today, strong, to do my game, and then it's gonna come like itself.

So I don't really focus on her game. I just want to focus what I have to do to bother her.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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