World no. 2 Simona Halep had a little bit slower start of the season, losing in the final in Doha and the semi-final in Miami, collecting some early losses along the way as well. Still, the Romanian is back at her best on clay, playing on a high level a week ago in Madrid where she lost to Kiki Bertens in the final, hoping to go one step in Rome where she lost in the title match to Elina Svitolina in both 2017 and 2018.
Dealing with a cold for a couple of days, Simona is ready to embrace the first challenge in the Italian capital against Marketa Vondrousova, hoping for another good run on her favorite surface. In the press conference, Halep spoke about her improvements over the years and how Darren Cahill helped her to develop a more aggressive approach, the most significant element she lacked in her early years on the Tour.
Also, Simona doesn't think about the points at the moment and would love to finish the year as the no. 1 player. "Well, I had a great two days off, not doing much, just a little bit of fitness. I was walking on the streets in this beautiful city and practiced on Tuesday, feeling good on the court.
A little bit of low energy, of course, because I'm coming after a great result and tough matches but happy to be back here. I will make sure tomorrow I will be ready to play the match, my cold is much better, I'm close to 100%.
Madrid final against Bertens was the most frustrating match of the season so far because I felt I didn't play what I had to play, it wasn't my best day. To chase the title in Rome, I have to bring the energy back. When you have treatment to do, you are cold, you can play good in that week, those days, but then the energy's a little bit lower.
So now I feel like that. Hopefully I can play a good tennis here, to win some matches, then is going to be much easier. Still, it's a very tough tournament, very tough opponents. I cannot think about the title but my dream is to win it one day.
If it's not this year, maybe next year. Always I have to improve technical because after so many matches your shots or not great any more. You have to train them. But I think I am on very good level of playing now on clay, so I feel confident.
I feel happy with the way I played last week. Here is going to be a little bit different because the court is different. About the points... I don't want to think about that, to be honest. I have many, but I covered few of them last week.
Is not about defending the points, it's about winning matches and being close to the last days of the tournaments. About No. 1 in the world, if I will get there, I want to be in the end of the year, not now. So for me it doesn't matter at this moment.
I think I improved also in my A game, which was defensive game back then. I feel like I improved being more aggressive. This is because of Darren. He teached me how to make the transfer from defensive to the offensive play. Also serve I think I improved.
If I can analyze my game, I think I have Plan A and Plan B. But depends of my energy and my mood if I can put Plan B, which is more aggressive. I'm trying to improve more and more because now the players know me. After so many years there, I have to come with something better. Hopefully, I can change other things that I want and I have in my mind."