Australian Open Simona Halep Australian Open Simona Halep

Simona Halep pre-tournament interview

Interviews

Q. This is the first Grand Slam you've come in as the world No. 1, top seed. How does that feel to you? Does it feel different?
 SIMONA HALEP: Not very different. But special for me. It's nice to be in this position, for my experience, for everything. It's really, really nice.

 I don't feel pressure. I feel okay. I feel fit. I feel ready to start. Every time is tough every match of a Grand Slam. Nothing changes that I'm No. 1 or No. 2 or No. 3. I'm just looking forward to start the tournament and to give the best.

Q. Do you feel maybe a little less stressed by the situation? Remember a few years ago, you said you felt the pressure in one of the matches I think against Makarova. Do you feel now that maybe you've achieved this, you're less stressed?
 SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I can say I started the year better. I am more relaxed. I'm enjoying more the time on court. I just sometimes try to change something in my game, to adjust, to improve. So my focus is on other stuff now than the ranking or to win the match.

Q. Such a long journey for you to get to No. 1, a sense of relief. Do you feel that's actually now sort of given you that confidence? Doesn't really matter what happens from now, you can play?
 SIMONA HALEP: About the ranking, for sure doesn't matter any more what is going to happen. Of course, I want to stay here in the top as long as possible. But I'm not doing everything for this reason.

 I have one more goal: to win a Grand Slam. If it's going to happen in one day... But now I'm focusing on my game. I really want to get better and to improve in what I had less good.

Q. How good does it feel to come in here off a title in Shenzhen?
 SIMONA HALEP: I came in the same situation in 2015, so I played quarterfinals, good memories. Hopefully I can do that again. But every match is going to be tough. The first round always is the toughest. I'm just focusing on that, then we'll see.

Q. Yesterday Billie Jean King was in the press conference room, and she was referencing the fact that in her view the Margaret Court Arena should have its name changed because of some of the things Margaret had been saying about gay people. She said if she was a player now, she would not play on that court. Do you have any strong feelings at all about that?
 SIMONA HALEP: First, I respect everyone. Everyone does what they want. I'm not going commentating about this. Everyone owns their lives.

 About playing on court, I will play everywhere I am scheduled on. The tournament decides these things. Has nothing to do with me. But if I would be scheduled on Margaret Court, I will play on Margaret Court.

Q. People notice you ended with adidas the end of last season and don't currently have a sponsor. I don't know if you're close to getting one, what that process has been.
 SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, my people are working for me on this stuff. They are talking. But the conversation has just begun. I have no contract now. I'm still with no brand clothes.

 I just want to make sure that I will choose what I like, and also the brand to like me. It's really important to have a nice outfit and to feel good in the clothes. So I'm not rushing. I will wait what future gives me.

Q. You have a lot of freedom to pick whatever you want to wear now.
 SIMONA HALEP: Yeah.

Q. Is that sort of fun in a way? Usually you used to just get the package from adidas and wear that. Now you get to express yourself more maybe.
 SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, it's an interesting period, to be honest (smiling). For the moment, are many brands, so I don't know which one is going to be. For sure is going to be one. But we will see in the future.

 I really want to have something nice, to have nice feeling with the future brand that I will wear.

Q. Are you going to stick to your red dress from Shenzhen for here?
 SIMONA HALEP: Yes, same.

Q. How does it work? If you don't have a clothing supplier, do you go to the shop?
 SIMONA HALEP: No, I ordered. How do you call the ladies that are making the clothes?

Q. Seamstress.
 SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I sent a picture. Was a site, in China actually, and one of my managers helped me, and in 24 hours I had the outfit, and were perfect (smiling). I was lucky.

Q. How did you find them?
 SIMONA HALEP: On Internet.

Q. You just searched on the Internet?
 SIMONA HALEP: Yes. Everything is on Internet now (smiling). I was a little bit stressed.

Q. You designed your own clothes?
 SIMONA HALEP: No. I chose the model. But it's plain, come on. Nothing special there. It looks good, in my opinion. I like it.

Q. Do you ever think you'd want your own clothing line like Venus has?
 SIMONA HALEP: No, I will not have that.

Q. Did you consider getting a T-shirt with the No. 1 on it?
 SIMONA HALEP: No. I'm not that type of person.

Q. You play a young Australian in the first round. Do you know much about her?
 SIMONA HALEP: Not really. I heard from my coach, because he's Australian. I heard that she's a very talented player and young. So is going to be a big challenge. Is not easy to play with an Australian home.

 But I played in the past. I faced many of these things, so I'm ready to play her. We'll see on court what is going to happen. I don't want to look much about how she's playing. I will try to solve the problem there on court.

Q. A lot of players like coming to Australia to play Brisbane, other tournaments. You played in China, which is pretty far away. Difficult getting adjusted to Melbourne after having a long trip?
 SIMONA HALEP: Well, the weather was similar. The balls were different. I have already one week here. I feel that I am adapted to these conditions.

 Was raining also there. Here is raining. Doesn't matter if you play in other country, everything is like similar. The courts are okay. Everything is okay. I'm ready.

Q. What was it like having an indoor final?
 SIMONA HALEP: It was really special feeling, I can say. Just in juniors we played like that. Since then, never happened. So was nice. Just few people watching us. Was really special. I enjoyed it.

 

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13 Jan 18
World No. 1 Simona Halep has big plans for 2018.

Pre-tournament press conference: Simona Halep

Video