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An Interview With: Simona Halep (Round 4)

Monday, September 07, 2015

Q. How tough was that and how happy are you that you were able to pull it out?

SIMONA HALEP: I'm really happy that I could win this match. It was tough one. You know, I expected tough match. I knew that she has ups and downs, but she's strong. So I had to stay there focused. I didn't play my best, but still I played well enough to win it. I think I was fighting really good today.

Q. Your first quarterfinal here.

SIMONA HALEP: I have last eight badge now. Was the only one which I didn't have.

Q. Was it a goal for you?

SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, it was a big goal.

Q. Talk about your leg a little bit. When did you start to feel it and what's the status now?

SIMONA HALEP: I don't remember exactly when. But at the beginning, it was, actually. Then I was cramping my back. My back was cramping. Then the leg was worst. I feel it. I feel pain. But tomorrow I have day off so I have time to recover. I hope just to be okay to play another match. I know is going to be tough, but I have nothing to lose. Just going there and enjoying.

Q. Do you think the experience this summer playing in Toronto, playing a little bit fatigued in Cincinnati helped you at all today?

SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, helped me a lot. Was good I was fighting in Toronto's final because I felt that feeling, I had that feeling. Today, as well. So today I could finish it. I was pretty okay. I just had an injury. So in Toronto was something different. I had stomach cramps and was something different. But here I had enough power just to stay there and to believe that I can win it. It's a really tough one, but I'm happy I did it.

Q. You just said you have nothing to lose. You are No. 2 in this tournament. Why do you feel that way?

SIMONA HALEP: I just feel it. I had many expectations in French Open and Wimbledon and wasn't good. So here I changed a little bit my mind, and I have no expectations. Azarenka is playing well, started to play well again. She has experience already. She won two Grand Slams. So will be a tough one. But I know that I have my chances.

Q. Do you feel like there's less pressure on you than there might be on another No. 2 seed here?

SIMONA HALEP: I have no pressure. Actually, I feel it. But I play well when I have pressure. I don't care about the result. I just want to go there and to try to do everything I can in that day.

Q. This was your first mixed doubles tournament you entered. Talk about pulling out today.

SIMONA HALEP: I cannot play anymore, so that's why I'm pulling out. I'm tired and I have problems with my leg. Horia understood. Not nice, but it's never nice when you pull out. But my coach told me that I have to stop. We had a discussion, and we both said that it's enough. But was a fun, fun experience here.

Q. You haven't played Vika in a very long time, probably back at a different time in your career. What do you remember of those matches? What do you expect?

SIMONA HALEP: I think I played against her in Doha. She beat me there like 6-4, 6-3, something like that. I'm a different player since then. I'm stronger mentally. I'm stronger physically. Will be another day. Will be a new match. Everything is different. I believe that I can win it. So I have just to stay positive, to try everything, to try to do my game, to be aggressive and to play fast. I know that she will fight because she's a fighter girl. But, you know, it's quarterfinals. We both are tired. So I have just to work out and to take my chance.

Q. Would you say the Open is the toughest slam to play physically because it's at the end of the run and everybody comes in here with some sort of physical issue, knowing you have to get through this physically in order to win?

SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I said that it's tough to play in US Open because it's the last one. All of us are playing like crazy all the year, many tournaments. You know, I had good results in Toronto and Cincinnati. Now I feel a bit tired because I had many matches, tough matches actually I had with top players. But, you know, it was a good thing that I could win matches before coming here. Mentally I was a little bit down after Wimbledon. Now I found the way back. I have the way back fighting during the matches. I'm just trying to keep it and not thinking about the result because I'm just tired. I just want to go to play my best, to try to win, but doesn't matter what I'm going to do if I win or lose.

Q. What are the toughest things about Azarenka's game?

SIMONA HALEP: To be honest, I don't really know how she's playing because I'm not watching the players. But I know that she's hitting the ball strong. She has a pretty good serve. Maybe I have to make her run, like I'm doing with all the players. To be fast and to stay there to take the ball quickly and to be aggressive. It's everything I have in my head now. Tomorrow I will speak with my team, my coach, and we will see.

Q. You spoke after the match on court about the strength of your legs. Has that been challenged by injuries at all lately? How are your legs feeling at this exact moment?

SIMONA HALEP: Tired, to be honest. But, like I said on court, I have strong legs. I hope to keep me there like fighting and running. I know that I have enough power to continue this tournament. I have just to recover. I did the ice bath before coming here. So I'm okay. I'm better than during the match. I think I have good body, you know, for matches, tough matches. I have expectation for me that I can run for every ball. I have this in my mind always that I have to go for every shot.

Q. When Nadia Comaneci or somebody like that is in the audience...

SIMONA HALEP: Perfect 10. I tell her, yeah.

Q. When someone like that is in the audience, do you notice that and does it motivate you?

SIMONA HALEP: I'm not watching the screen. But, you know, it's tough because you have your toss there and it's tough to be concentrated on other things. She's sending me messages actually before the match and after the match. I hope she's going to come, because she said she's coming. Yeah, it's nice to have like good champions, great champions, close to you and supporting you.

Q. What was the condition of your legs when you started this tournament, and how has playing these matches worn on your legs? In Cincinnati and other places you were wrapping.

SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I had a problem in Toronto actually started, but was around the knee. Now is different. That problem is solved already. You know, I had tough matches. Today was really tough against Lisicki because she was hitting strong. I had just to stay there, to run a lot. I did a step behind the baseline and wasn't good. I had to run a lot. That's why I felt my muscle. But at the beginning of the tournament, I was perfect. I was ready to start it. And now I'm okay. I'm not bad but I'm okay.

Q. Eugenie Bouchard had to pull out when she slipped and fell, had a concussion. Have you ever had any off-the-court injuries or anything like that?

SIMONA HALEP: No. I'm always focused when I step because is dangerous. But, no, I didn't have. 

Q. Your history at the slams, you have very easy wins in the first few rounds, then there usually comes one match where maybe you don't play as well as you expect yourself to play. Today it looked like that might be a tough match. I was wondering if you were aware of that trend and whether or not today's match means a little bit more because you were able to win when you didn't play particularly well?

SIMONA HALEP: Actually was different because the wind was bothering us a little bit. I'm used to play on center court where is perfect. It wasn't easy, you know, to adapt on other court. But, you know, she was strong. I mean, I didn't play my best, but still I played enough good to win the match. But she was strong. She was fighting. She was fighting till the end. Normally she's struggling when is down. But today she was a great player. Yeah, I started good this Grand Slam. I had good matches. I had good start. You know, I expected a tough match coming through because was easy at the beginning, so I had just to see where I am. So it was good for me. I hope next round I will be 100% with my body. For sure I will have a better feeling on court.

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