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January 22, 2022

Simona Halep

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference

S. HALEP/D. Kovinic

6-2, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Through to the second week. Talk us through your thoughts on the match, how you feel here in Melbourne.

SIMONA HALEP: Well, it was a great match. I think I played good tennis. She was a little bit tired and exhausted. But, you know, I'm pleased with the way I played. I feel good to be in the second week.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What are you feeling on court right now? The scores have been impressive this week. Are you feeling this is some of the best you've played in a while?

SIMONA HALEP: The last months, yes. I feel great physically first of all. Mentally I'm confident and also strong, I would say. Feeling the game. Feeling joy out there. I think that helps me to be positive and to be confident that I have a chance every time I step on the court. Playing well.

I feel I'm in a good spot. I really trust that I can play good tennis here.

Q. It's been a long time since you've played Alize. What are your thoughts on that game?

SIMONA HALEP: It's always been tough match against Alize. I expect actually a tough battle. She's fighting till the end and she never gives up. I am the same, so hopefully will be a nice match.

Yeah, every match is different. I will take that. Even if I lost few times to her, it's a new challenge and I'm ready for it.

Q. You spoke about what a tough year last year was. Mentally do you feel fresh? Have you been able to enjoy Melbourne?

SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I feel fresh. I feel that the pressure is off. I feel also that I have expectations from myself, but they are good expectations because I have worked a lot in the off-season. I have no injuries. That helps me to be in a good spot mentally and also with confidence.

I think I'm feeling good.

Q. On Cornet, she's going for a record of trying to play the most-ever consecutive Grand Slams. I think she's over 60. What do you make of that achievement, what it takes to do something like that?

SIMONA HALEP: Well, it's great. It's great that she can make that. I remember '16 or '17 she did fourth round in French Open. She has a lot of experience. This will help her next match.

I've always liked her. She's a fighter on the court. Out of the court she's a very nice person.

Yeah, I expect a good match so we'll see.

Q. You're showing more of your emotions this year on court.


Q. I feel like you're showing more emotions.

SIMONA HALEP: More emotions? I think no. Last year I was super agitated and super nervous on court. This year I feel like I'm very stable. Yeah, I'm nervous before the matches, but I feel very comfortable when I step on the court.

Q. Can you give us a quick insight into what you learnt from Darren. What is it about him?

SIMONA HALEP: His person I think is very special. The way he talks, the way he always gives you advice, I think it's very special. When he really trust in the player, I think he sends that to the player and you feel much more confident and much more safe on court.

For me, he has been the most important person for my career. With him I could achieve the big titles. He also teach me how to be a better person out of the court, to enjoy more life.

Because of him now I'm talking to everyone. I like to share everything with the players also in the locker room, with the people outside. For me, he has been a really important person for my whole life. It's not just tennis.

But, yeah, I see that he has success also with Amanda now. She played great yesterday. I'm happy for them.

Q. Have you noticed a difference without him? Less attention locally?

SIMONA HALEP: Can you repeat?

Q. Without him...

SIMONA HALEP: Without him?

Q. Has there been a difference in media attention? Has it changed at all?

SIMONA HALEP: Well, I have a good team. My coach now is a great person as well. I feel good with them. But I do miss Darren. Yeah, I don't feel that everything changed that much. In my team, it changed the spirit of the team. Sometimes when you work so many years with somebody, you really miss that person.

But, yeah, it is how it is. I have to look forward just to play my tennis, my best tennis.

Q. First time you're in a red dress since you made the final. Is this a lucky color for you?

SIMONA HALEP: Hopefully, hopefully that I can repeat that. Yeah, I love this outfit. It's beautiful. I feel good with it. I hope I can have many matches with it.

Q. It sounded like you watched a little bit of the match last night. Obviously you know Amanda and what she can do on a tennis court. What is your analysis of that match?

SIMONA HALEP: Well, I'm not good in that. But I can say she played really well. Amanda was playing great. I mean, the serve and also the strokes were very, very powerful. Yeah, it was a very tight match. I enjoyed watching.

Q. In terms of going into the second week, you haven't dropped that many games, managed your energy, how much more confidence does it give you when you play a slam and you go into the second week knowing you haven't had to run around for three hours in the first week of the tournament?

SIMONA HALEP: Well, physically is much better. I have to admit that. I remember 2018 when after first week I was dead. Now I feel better.

You never know with these matches. I always expect a tough one. The next one will be for sure a tough one. I'm not thinking that much about how many games I dropped. I'm just focusing on the game.

I felt pretty good out there today. I feel that my game is there. I have just to keep the focus in the game and just doing my best, fighting for every ball. I will have to do that next one.

Q. You're in the same half of the draw as Aryna Sabalenka who is struggling with her serve. In your experience, have you ever had a mental block regarding a shot, and how you overcame it? What do you make of that scenario if you haven't been?

SIMONA HALEP: We are a little bit different as players. She hitting very strong. I'm not hitting that strong. It's tough to say about that.

But I would say that I had with Golubic two weeks ago problems with the serve. Next day I was fine. Yeah, sometimes it's frustrating that you cannot feel the timing or feel the shot. You can get down a little bit.

But with patience I think you can get over it.

Q. With the pandemic there's uncertainty every week, but in particular for the WTA with the decision to suspend the Asian swing, do you have any preference? Where do you see that calendar evolving if it was up to you?

SIMONA HALEP: About the calendar of the tournaments this year?

Q. Yes.

SIMONA HALEP: I saw the calendar and it looks pretty normal, so I'm happy that we can play all the tournaments. Yeah, the pandemic period I think was tough for everybody. Let's have confidence and say that we'll stop soon and we can get to normal life.

But, yeah, I feel happy that WTA has done such a good job and kept the tournaments. I'm looking forward to play as much as possible this year.

Q. I wanted to ask you about last year, with injuries and all that you were going through, did you at any time feel you wanted to stop tennis, walk away from the game? If you can just say what your lowest point in that time was.

SIMONA HALEP: The lowest point was mental because I've been exhausted and I've been a little bit scared of the injuries. I didn't think that I want to stop tennis because I don't like tennis anymore, I felt that I might stop tennis because of the injuries. But was nothing strong in my mind.

I still like to play tennis, to play tournaments, so I'm in a good spot now. I don't want to remember last year that much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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