Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. You said yesterday you didn’t want it to be a three-hour battle. You must be pleased.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I’m really pleased with the match. I think I played a good tennis. I was super strong on the legs. I knew that she’s changing the rhythm a lot. It’s never easy to actually find the rhythm during the match.
I think I did well and I’m really happy that I could win against a tough opponent.
Q. How pleased are you with where your game is at at the moment entering the semifinals against Ostapenko?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I feel confident. I feel that my game is there. I just need to play matches without thinking about the result.
Of course, it’s going to be a big challenge tomorrow because will be probably similar to today because Ostapenko is hitting very strong and doesn’t have rhythm.
But I played few times with her, so I will think about those matches and think what I will have to do.
Q. This is not about the tennis so much but about crowds, which has now become a conversation in tennis. I want to know when you’re playing against a crowd that is obviously for a player from the place you’re playing, how does that affect you? Also you have a lot of fans all over the world for you. Can you talk about from both sides.
SIMONA HALEP: Well, 99% I have the crowd with me so it’s not that tough to feel that the crowd is against me. I never felt that actually.
I have such a big support every time I play, so I really want to thank people for that. It gives me energy. Also the fact that they appreciate what I’m doing and how I’m doing on court makes me a little bit more confident.
Q. Do you think this conversation about the crowds coming in and maybe not appreciating both players, cheering between points, yesterday Ostapenko said, This is tennis, not football, do you have a counter to that or…
SIMONA HALEP: Not really. Sometimes when the pressure is there, you can hear some voices in the crowd. I cannot say I’m upset. It’s better with them than without them. We played one year and a half without fans, and was terrible.
I’m really happy to have them. Yeah, everything, it’s okay.
Q. How much of Ostapenko have you watched this week so far?
SIMONA HALEP: Nothing. Nothing because I was chilling and waiting to play my matches. But I will watch a little bit tomorrow morning. Yeah, we know each other pretty well. It’s going to be a good match I hope.
Q. She was speaking today about your previous matches. She said when she was stepping in the court and feeling her game, she felt you couldn’t really handle her pace. From your perspective, is her pace that difficult to deal with? You absorb the pace pretty well.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I feel like the last match was somewhere in Beijing and I won it. I cannot say that she overpowers me. I think some other players are hitting stronger.
But she has a great game. Will be a tough challenge tomorrow and I’m ready.
Q. I wanted your opinion. Right now Aryna Sabalenka has been struggling on her serve. She’s been open about it. Has this ever happened to you where you couldn’t hit a specific shot and lost confidence?
SIMONA HALEP: No, I didn’t feel that. But I don’t have a big shot like Sabalenka has, Serena has. It’s tough to comment on that.
My game is a little bit slower. It’s a little bit more for feeling, touching. So never happen that I lose a shot.
Q. You talked at the draw earlier this week how you were focusing getting your health back, fitness. That was your number one aim. Where are we now? Are you looking to pick up the trophy or still taking it one at a time?
SIMONA HALEP: One at a time. It’s much better. It’s more relaxed to think about that. Every match is important. The title is very far. I still stay like with my feet on the ground. I know that I am coming back from a tough injury, from a tough year, so I’m really happy and very pleased that I have the chance to play semis here.
I’m looking forward actually to give tomorrow again my best and to fight.
Q. Ostapenko has played longer matches this week compared to yourself. How are you preparing? Any changes or tactics you make?
SIMONA HALEP: Even if she played, stayed longer on the court, I don’t think she runs more than me because I run pretty much during the matches (smiling).
I’m ready physically to face a three-hours match. I feel healthy. I feel like I can stay there forever. So, yeah, I don’t mind about the time on court.
Q. At the draw you said you want to enjoy the freedom of not having a coach. You’ve coached yourself now to the semifinals. How has this week been for you? Did any part of the experience surprise you and are you proud of yourself as a coach this week?
SIMONA HALEP: I’m proud with how I handled this week, but is not over yet so I don’t want to finish it yet (smiling).
The coach is always important in the team. Maybe the most important person because it keeps you between the lines and gives you confidence.
But as I said, I enjoy the freedom. I feel like I can play few more tournaments like this. We will see. I have nothing planned.
Q. I wanted to ask you about prematch routines on match days. Have they changed over the years? Is there something you don’t do or do that you never used to do?
SIMONA HALEP: No. I keep the same routine. I’m like that. I like to have the same things. Nothing special. But just, yeah, the same routine.
Q. Like what?
SIMONA HALEP: I don’t say (smile). They’re my things.
Q. You said you will take one match at a time. Is there any particular target you’ve set for the end of the year?
SIMONA HALEP: Top 10, to go back to top 10. If there is a chance, I will fight for it.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
117042-1-1004 2022-02-17 17:26:00 GMT