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An Interview With: Simona Halep (Round 3)

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Q. Were you happy with the performance?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah. Very happy.

Q. Do you feel like you're getting better or you're sustaining a level over your first three matches?
SIMONA HALEP: Actually today I didn't play very well because was first time when I played the night session and I couldn't feel the ball at the beginning of the match. It's big difference between night and day.

So the weather was, like, cooler today and was different.

But after that I found the rhythm and I started to be aggressive again and to hit the ball. It was good in the end.

Q. In order to find the rhythm and adjust to the conditions, did you change racquet tensions or just get used to the conditions?
SIMONA HALEP: I changed the racquet during the match, at the beginning of the match. But the tension I didn't change. Is the same tension and the same racquet. Just was something new for me and that's why, you know, I couldn't adapt very quickly. But I think after four games I did. So it was good. And she's playing tough. She doesn't give a rhythm, so it's difficult to stay there.

Q. If you had to explain your game to someone new to tennis in one or two sentences, how would you explain it?
SIMONA HALEP: My game?

Q. Yes.
SIMONA HALEP: I think I'm aggressive. I play aggressive. I like to open the court. I like to take the ball fast. If I do one step behind the baseline, I am lost. It's not easy for me to play from there.

I try to hit the serve not very strong, but I have good rhythm, I think. The return I try to be aggressive, to take it fast and to block it more. And then to move very fast.

Q. Sounds like you liked the song they played at the end for you?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, it's a Romanian song. I didn't expect that. It was a good surprise for me.

Q. How would you assess your first week?
SIMONA HALEP: Was a great week for me. It was nice. I came here without expectations because after Roland Garros and Wimbledon, I couldn't think like that I'm going to do good result here.

But I'm in the second week already. It's a good result already for me. So I feel happy. I feel confident. I feel that I have chances this tournament. I'm just looking forward for the next round and, of course, to improve day by day to be better next round because I will need.

Q. Are you working on anything in particular?
SIMONA HALEP: Not really. I keep the same tension of the practices. I keep the same focusing. Just to stay there and recover very well because we have many matches here. And tomorrow I have mixed.

Q. Do you notice any difference between how much attention you had last year here in New York compared to now?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, last year was more difficult. This year it's more quiet around me, so it's good. I feel good. Actually if I don't have expectation from myself, it's good. Normally I don't have to hear the people around me. I have just to hear my coach, my team, and just what I have to do on court to be focused for that.

Now it's perfect.

Q. Why was it louder last year around you than this year?
SIMONA HALEP: I think because I did finals in Roland Garros, and then semifinals. Maybe everyone was thinking that I have to win this one. So it was tough.

Q. Have you been watching much tennis when you're not playing here?
SIMONA HALEP: Actually this week I was watching all the time at the TV. I don't know why. Normally I don't switch on the TV at the hotel. But this week I was only on ESPN, listening my coach actually, and yeah, I was watching the matches. I don't know why, but I did.

Q. Whatever was on?
SIMONA HALEP: No, I didn't choose. Just everything.

Q. Great boxing champion, Lucian Bute, was here tonight from Montréal to support you. He predicted 2-0 for you tonight.
SIMONA HALEP: I didn't know that he's here. I really want to thank him for coming. It's big support from him. Yeah, it was good that he said I'm going to win in two sets. It was a fast match. Maybe if he's coming next round, I will meet him. I don't know.

Q. He said he will.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah? So I will meet him.

Q. Was there anyone that you admired growing up that you ended up playing?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, Justine Henin was my idol when I was growing up. She still is, I can say, because I didn't win Grand Slam yet. So she is my idol.

I liked her a lot and I liked her game and her personality on court.

Q. Did you ever play her?
SIMONA HALEP: No.

Q. Do you think it would be harder to play someone you grew up idolizing?
SIMONA HALEP: I think yes, but would be great thing for me if I could play against her. But I didn't have the chance, so...

Q. Now that you're a higher-ranked player, a lot of players, when we talk to them, they say, When I play a higher-ranked player, I play with nothing to lose. Is that an actual concept? Can you say that, going on court, that you have nothing to lose?
SIMONA HALEP: Actually it's true. When you go on court and you play with someone higher than you in the ranking, you say, I have nothing to lose. Is normal. If I lose, doesn't matter because she is better than me in the ranking.

But now I am second. Always when I go on court, I'm better than everyone except Serena ranked. And it's not easy to go. You feel the pressure. But still I think that I have nothing to lose every match I go.

So just I think it's mentally thing. Just we keep it. I don't know the reason.

We think that if we say this it's better for us and we are more relaxed, but is not true.

Q. Do you remember the last time you played someone where you thought you had nothing to lose, and then you started to play the match and started to feel the same pressure as if you had something to lose?
SIMONA HALEP: Every match here I feel this thing because I'm second seeded. I can say that I feel the pressure. I have to win the matches. But I play well when I feel the pressure, so it's good for me.

Every match I say that I have nothing to lose. Before every match I speak with my coach and I tell him, Tell me that you have no expectations from me. That's worked for me. I have that thing always in my mind and I'm more relaxed with that.

Q. Are there little things you do on the court, things that people tell you to do?
SIMONA HALEP: No, I have nothing, nothing. I am relaxed. Everyone is like own personality, has own personality.

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