Ahead of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, 2020 champion Simona Halep updated reporters on her new coaching relationship with Patrick Mouratoglou, while US Open champions Emma Raducanu and Bianca Andreescu looked ahead to their marquee first-round match and No.2 seed Paula Badosa reflected on change.
Simona Halep embraces contrasts with Patrick Mouratoglou
Simona Halep is a former World No.1, two-time Grand Slam champion and the winner here in Rome two years ago. But she brings no ego into new team shakeups.
"A lot changes," she said. "The way I look at what I'm doing, what we are doing. So many changes. I need a little bit of time to adjust."
Ultimately, it's akin to a makeover whereby Halep places herself in the hands of people she has faith in.
"I trusted [Mouratoglou] 100% since the first moment," she said. "What he's telling me, actually I accepted it because I know it's good for me. He knows better in this position because I was super down with myself, low confidence. So I trust him 100% and I'm doing super-easy what he's saying. Actually I feel good. I have no problems with that."
The pair's demeanours couldn't be more contrasting - but as strange as it is to imagine the low-key, quiet Halep bonding with more outgoing Mouratoglou, that's a benefit to Halep as well.
"I like it because he has a lot of energy," she said. "He's super open to everybody, so I have to learn that because I'm quiet and introverted. But no, I love his personality. It's easy for me.
"Actually, he does more pictures than me with the fans! That's good."
Emma Raducanu and Bianca Andreescu cagy ahead of first meeting
The are numerous parallels between reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu and 2019 winner Bianca Andreescu. Both won their first major title in Flushing Meadows as teenagers making their tournament debut. Both have Romanian parentage. Both were even, as Andreescu is quick to point out, born in Ontario, Canada. And they've been drawn to play each other for the first time in the opening round of Rome.
But it's also not that deep, as Andreescu also says in a WTA interview. "I've thought about the parallels, but I don't go crazy," she says. "It's just a really weird coincidence."
They haven't interacted much, having mostly competed on tour in the other's absence - until now. But they observed each other's fairytale runs in New York with interest.
"Yeah, I watched that tournament," Raducanu said. "I thought Bianca was playing incredibly well. I think her physicality is one of her strengths, how good she is moving, how low she stays. I think that's really cool. And probably something I can learn from myself."
Two years after that, Andreescu was the spectator.
"I watched her win the US Open, and I was really happy for her because I won it basically around her age," she said. "Obviously she was playing a Canadian, so that was really nice too. She's a really great player, so I'm expecting a really good match. I remember saying, 'I want to play her,' and it looks like I got my wish."
Paula Badosa reflects on change - and staying the same
Paula Badosa arrives in Rome as both a tournament debutante and the No.2 seed - a mark of how fast the Spaniard has risen up the rankings over the past 13 months. This time last year, her semifinal run in Madrid precluded her from playing Rome qualifying.
"The other years, I was too bad," she said.
The key, she says, was turning around her attitude. As players at any level can attest, a spiral of negative thoughts can be one of the hardest things to overcome in the sport. For Badosa, it was less of a lightbulb moment than drawn out over time - though she does remember one key moment.
"I was super negative on myself," she said. "I remember it was tough for me. I was getting frustrated very fast because I really wanted to win so badly, so my mental game was weak in that moment. So, yeah, it was a process, me getting older, mature.
"But one day I sat down and I was watching myself, and I didn't like what I was seeing. I decided that no matter what, I was going to try to fight every point, even if I feel well or bad on court.
"It's one of the things that I think I changed the most last year. It gave me a lot of matches last year, that big change. I think this year I'm doing quite the same."
This approach is also key to moving on from heartbreaking losses, such as the 6-3, 6-1 defeat Simona Halep inflicted on her in front of her home crowd in Madrid last week.
"Of course, if I have these kind of matches like you play against Simona that she played amazing - I had a lot of these matches this year that the opponent played so good - I just have to go home and work harder."
But Badosa doesn't feel she's changed where it matters - as a person.
"I think I'm the same or even more humble, because one day you're on the top and next day you can be outside the Top 100. You never know.
"I think the key to stay where I am, or a much better ranking, is to stay humble and to work very hard. I think if I play very good on this sport, I'm not better than anyone, you know. I didn't save a life. I'm not a superhero. I'm just playing good in my job.
"I'm doing my job well, you know? I don't have to change for that."