February 16, 2021
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
S. WILLIAMS/S. Halep
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Probably not the result you wanted, but just talk us through the match from your perspective and how Serena played tonight.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, it was a tough match. She played really well, and definitely she deserved to win tonight.
I feel like the serve didn't help me much, and that's why I couldn't take the lead more in the second set.
Q. At 3-3 in the second, you guys had two, a 20-stroke rally and I think like a 12-stroke rally, and she won them both. That seemed like kind of the turning point where she was able to get the momentum she needed to get across. What were you thinking at that point?
SIMONA HALEP: My feeling after this match is that I was not that far, but also, she was stronger in the important moments. I had 3-1 in the second set and serve didn't help me much, so I had to do, to be a little bit stronger on the serve but it didn't work today. She was very powerful at the return. So, yeah, those long rallies were very important.
In my opinion, I had a good game tonight. I'm not that disappointed about myself. Attitude maybe a little bit negative the whole tournament, but I'm gonna work on this, and I will come back stronger, for sure, with that.
Q. It sounds like you feel as if she beat you; you did not lose?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I accept she beat me but also if I could be a little bit stronger with the serve the chance could have been a little bit bigger for me.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about your return? Seems like you kept changing your position of returning. Seems like you could read her where she serve sometimes?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I felt very strong the return. I broke her in the second set, and I got that confidence. But she didn't serve that strong today. She mixed it, so that's why I was changing my position.
I feel like I was good in all the ways, but serve was the key that didn't work.
Q. Let me make sure. You said she doesn't serve that strong...
SIMONA HALEP: She didn't serve as strong as she does normally. She was 170.
Q. She keeps changing her rhythm?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, she kept changing. I felt that. That's why I was just trying to change my position, as well.
Q. I'm not quite sure how to word this. Did you feel you were so perfect in that Wimbledon final? Did you get the sense that she was out to avenge that defeat in particular since that was the last time you guys met?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, it's long time ago when we played in Wimbledon, and it's different surface, as I said before two days ago, that it's gonna be different, different match.
The matches are not the same all the time, so I didn't expect to be like that. I knew that it's gonna be a strong one, and I have to do my best to win it.
So, no, I didn't have in my mind what happened there. I just went on court with the belief that I have the chance to win, but I knew that it's gonna be really hard.
Q. What is your schedule after this tournament? Are you going to Middle East?
SIMONA HALEP: I go home and then Doha, Dubai normally.
Q. A lot of people have been saying Serena has been playing better recently. Did you feel that a lot today?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, she's moving better and she hits strong, the balls. Yeah, I feel like she's in a good shape now. It's really good game. She has a really good game. Always did, but...(smiling).
Q. You've obviously played Serena multiple times over the course of your careers. On the topic of her movement, how do you rate how she's moving right now compared to, you know, the other times earlier in your career that you have played her?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I felt like she's moving really well today, but I cannot compare the matches. I don't really remember everything from those matches.
But today I felt her, she's running more and she's next to the ball better.
Q. Just in general, looking at your tournament and not just here but also, you know, just the start of the season and everything like that, do you leave feeling like you're in a good way? Do you leave frustrated? What's your mindset?
SIMONA HALEP: A little bit frustrated about the negativity on the court. I have been complaining a little bit too much, I think.
But tennis-way, I think I did a good job. I worked hard in the off-season and here I could see how much I improved in some things. So I'm positive on that, on tennis, and I have confidence.
But I still have to work to get back in the good shape mentally (smiling).
Q. I was going to ask you about that because I asked Darren about it yesterday and he told me to ask you. Why has it been that you've been a little bit more chippy, more talkative during the Australian Open?
SIMONA HALEP: Probably I felt the pressure after three, four months without an official match, and, you know, I didn't know what's going on here, what to expect. So probably the tension, I felt it more, and I didn't know how to manage it that well.
But I haven't been that bad, so I'm still okay but I need to, yeah, I need to get better.
Q. Your compatriot, great doubles specialist and fabulous champion, Horia Tecau, last year he told me he climbed Moldoveanu, the highest peak in Romania. Would you love to climb that mountain in the future?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah. I don't know if I can, but yeah, I would love to.
Q. Another question about Serena's movement. I just wanted to know what's kind of the most difficult thing about kind of facing her when she's moving better? Is it harder to kind of get her out of position?
SIMONA HALEP: Her shots are very strong, so you need to be very strong on the legs to try to move her, to open the court.
The fact that she's moving better, of course it's good thing for her. It's much easier to hit the balls. It's tougher for the opponents to finish the point.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports