Simona Halep: “It was a perfect day for me. I played really well. I did my game. I was very aggressive”
TENNIS 2014 ROLAND GARROS – 4th of June. S. Halep d. S. Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-2. An interview with Simona Halep
Q. It went smoothly today. How do you feel on court?
SIMONA HALEP: I felt very well on court. It was a perfect day for me. I played really well. I did my game. I was very aggressive. I played very fast.
So it was a good match, and I’m really happy that now I can play semifinals in Paris.
Q. How did you feel about this atmosphere? Most of the audience are behind you and they are cheering for you.
SIMONA HALEP: Yes, everybody was with me today, so it was amazing on court. Even when I passed on court they were with me and I felt amazing. It was a great match, a great atmosphere out there. The court was nice. Was my first time on Suzanne, so everybody was nice with me.
It was a perfect day, and I cannot say anything more. Maybe it was wasn’t her best day today, but for me it was the best. I’m really happy that I could play my game and to win against her, because it’s a great player.
So I won in two sets and very fast. I’m happy, and I really want to look forward for the next round because is my first semifinal at Grand Slam, and I have to be very focused, very calm, and to try to do everything on court.
Q. After the Australian Open quarterfinal you were not as happy as you are today. I think you described it as not a very good match. So did you look back on that match at all?
SIMONA HALEP: Sure.
Q. And prepare for the nerves this time?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah. At that moment I didn’t know how to manage the emotions before the quarterfinals. I was very nervous on court and I couldn’t play my game. I couldn’t run the balls and I couldn’t hit.
Now I was very relaxed. Was a tough day because I had to wait a few hours to play because of the rain, but still was perfect day. I had really good relaxation before the match. I stayed with my team and we spoke about other things. Not about the match and about the tennis.
So I’m really happy that I could pass this level, this quarterfinals match, and really happy to enjoy the next match because is the best result and I have to be happy for this.
Q. The other players in the semifinals are taller, and they also seem to hit the ball a bit harder than you do. Do you actually practice hitting the ball harder and becoming stronger the way Justine Henin used to?
SIMONA HALEP: No. Just I try to play fast, to open the court very well, to open the angles, and to take the ball very fast, to stay very close to the baseline.
With my serve I try to hit stronger, but I cannot because I’m not very tall. I try also to hit more you know, to have like 75% during the match with my first serve.
But today was better than the last match, so it’s good. I believe in my serve now for the next round.
Q. The timing of your shots seems to be perhaps one of your strong points. You seem to time it very well. The few times you wrong footed Svetlana on the court. Is that to do with your relaxation? How do you get the timing so good on your shots?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I think because I feel the court very well and also the game. I like. Is my style to play fast and to take the ball very early. She’s more defensive than me. She’s playing more far from the court.
So my point was today my tactic was to play fast, to play very close to the ball, and just to open the angles.
Q. Speaking of tactics and strategies, are you kind of a player who prepares different kind of tactics depending on your opponent, or…
SIMONA HALEP: Sometimes, yes. But usually I go on court with my tactic to be aggressive, to play fast, and to open the court, to open the angles.
If I play with stronger like Sharapova, because she hits the ball very well, I try also to be a little bit different, back from the baseline.
But I saw in Madrid that first set I played really fast and it worked, but after that I did two steps behind and was not good for me.
So for now, in my mind is just to do my game, to be aggressive, and to stay very close to the baseline. That’s everything for me.
Q. Do you think you can become the second Romanian woman to win a Grand Slam in Paris?
SIMONA HALEP: Here? Too far yet. Tomorrow will be a tough match. If I win, if I can win that one, the final will be very strong.
So I don’t want to think too far. Just to be focused for the next round and to try everything to win.