February 12, 2021
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
S. HALEP/V. Kudermetova
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Great match tonight. Just talk us through how it went from your perspective.
SIMONA HALEP: Thank you. Yeah, it was a great match. I played much better than the previous one. Actually, I expected how she's gonna play. I practiced once with her a few months ago, so I knew that it's gonna be tough.
But I'm really happy with the performance tonight.
Q. What was the difference between the last match and this one? Were you just feeling the ball differently tonight? Was it the matchup was just better for you?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, yeah, I feel much better the ball, and also the game. I moved a little bit better. Tomljanovic, she hit a little bit stronger, so it was really tough for me to defend better.
But tonight was also hard because she has the same style, hitting every ball and very strong. But definitely I played much better than previous one.
Q. Is this the kind of match you needed to kind of get your tournament back on track? Are you feeling much more confident than you were after the last one?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I feel more confident after the match against Ajla, because when you stay mentally strong during the matches, you get an extra boost the next one.
But still, I'm very focused for what I have to do to the next round, but I'm happier with my game.
Q. Next five days it's gonna be no spectators, and you will be stuck in bubble again. How do you think about that?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I'm sad that we don't have crowd anymore, but it's safer for everybody, so we will all respect all the restrictions again and the rules.
I think it's the best thing that Australia did in the last year, so we accept it and I'm okay with it.
Q. On Sunday, very unusual, this tournament is going to be played on Valentine's Day, the holiday of love. This is a lighthearted question. What do you consider to be the role of "love" in tennis?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I don't really count the days when I play, what does that day mean. But yeah, it's nice to be here in February (smiling).
I will just focus on my tennis, and I will celebrate the Valentine's Day after.
Q. How about love in tennis, both for you, the love of the sport, the role of that, and your success as a player and the importance of having that love to be successful?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, love means everything in my life, and I like to share with everybody around me, the important people. Love for this sport is really important because you can handle much better the pressure and also the tension during the matches. Also the traveling every week.
So if there is no love, there is much tougher to play this sport.
Q. Just how are you feeling with both your level and just going through the first week as you're about to go into the second week? How would you kind of grade your week 1?
SIMONA HALEP: Pretty good. I mean, I had tough matches, but I'm really happy that after the third one I feel much better, the game also and the body. You know, first week is like Pete Sampras, we used to say, it's about surviving, because you cannot win the Grand Slam in the first week.
But, you know, it's just about winning these matches, the first week, and the second week means a little bit more. So I have just to raise my level to be able to win some matches in the second week.
Q. How difficult was the physical recovery from after the Ajla match till today?
SIMONA HALEP: It was tough for my shoulder. I felt it very bad yesterday but was just sore. Nothing dangerous. Today I felt much better in the second set because I warmed up a lot and was easier to hit strong.
But I recover pretty okay. So I'm fit now.
Q. Then looking ahead, you could play Swiatek. I know you've already been asked about it on the court. Yeah, just your thoughts on if you get the chance to play her again and what you need to do different.
SIMONA HALEP: Well, many things I have to do different, because it was a very fast match in Roland Garros. I didn't actually feel anything at that. She was very fast and very strong in that day. But I will forget that match.
I will just talk to my team what I have to do better, and trying to focus on myself as I do every day. Because attention has to be on me, and then if I can play my best tennis I have a chance.
Q. What do you think you need particularly to improve for the next round?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I cannot improve anything in one day. I just have to be confident. I have to trust my game. I have to trust myself and to try to give my best. I know it's gonna be tough because she's hitting very strong, and she has also confidence after winning Grand Slam.
But it's another day, another match. So I'm sure that if I will be fit and focused, I have a good chance.
Q. On the topic of Iga, were you surprised that she ended up winning Roland Garros?
SIMONA HALEP: No. With the way that she played against me, because I can talk about that, she felt the game at the maximum, and also she was with the confidence very high. I think she didn't think that much about what is happening. She just played her tennis, and she did it great.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports