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May 7, 2016

Simona Halep

Madrid, Spain

S. HALEP/D. Cibulkova

6-2, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Congratulations.
SIMONA HALEP: Thank you.

Q. How rewarding and how happy are you with this win after so many setbacks, injuries, and so on?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I'm really happy that I won this tournament. Like I said many times, it's very special, and I have a special feeling right now.

The most important thing is that I played good tennis here. My best actually, my best level. It was amazing on court. I just want to keep that feeling for long time.

Q. Are you really happy the way you're playing now? You said you want to be really creative.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I'm really happy the way how I played this tournament. I want just to keep the same way and to improve more, but in this direction.

Yeah, I think it's very good game for me. Suits very well on my body and everything, my hand. It's perfect. I think if I won this tournament means I play good tennis.

Q. You talk about this being a special place for you. How much of that has to do with the Romanian connection here, Nadia handing you the trophy, Mr. Tiriac. Is that part of what makes this feel like home for you?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, that's why I feel special here. I saw always that it's a special tournament because if Mr. Tiriac, because of many Romanians that are coming here.

I feel like home. Gerard makes me feel like home always. He does everything I need. You know, it's a special feeling that many Romanians are coming to support me. I see many flags in the crowd.

So, yeah, it means a lot. Actually it was a great moment that I got the trophy from Nadia. Perfect 10 means a lot. This week I give to myself 9.5, so not yet 10.

Q. Back to business as usual. Semifinal points to defend in Rome. How do you equate winning here and having to go and trying to defend there?
SIMONA HALEP: It's tough to go there, to be honest, but I just want to enjoy this moment right now. I'm not thinking about points.

Like this week. I didn't think about points, about anything. I just wanted to play. I will have few days off, and then I will think about my first match there.

Still, I have time because I will play Wednesday. I have a bye I just saw. Yeah, I'm thinking about that tournament. I will play it and I will play like here, hopefully. It's not easy, but I will try my best to keep going and to win matches.

Q. You had a tough start to the year in the first couple months. You feel this title coming or surprised you were able to get such a big title only a few months after the slow start?
SIMONA HALEP: I didn't expect actually before coming here that I'm going to win this title. But after first week when I practiced with Darren every day like I said, many hours on court, I felt that I have my chance.

Day by day I played better tennis. That helped me a lot to improve in myself, in in my mental, and to be more confident. I was feeling great. Nothing like injury or something like that. So everything was okay. That's why maybe I could win almost in two sets all the matches.

Q. Have you spoken to Mr. Tiriac yet?

Q. Still not talked to him?
SIMONA HALEP: He did like this. (Thumbs up.) But I will speak with him after I finish.

Q. Where is your trophy?
SIMONA HALEP: It's not mine. I don't know. They have it. I will have maybe another one. I don't know.

But the most important is that I hold it on court. I care just about that moment.

Q. What are your thoughts on this tournament's organization and the city?
SIMONA HALEP: I think it's one of the best tournaments in the world. The food is incredible. Yeah. Anyway, I ate only pasta at lunch but very good pasta.

The club is huge. It's nice. You can have like quiet room. You can stay relaxed before the matches. You have big locker rooms. So everything is good here.

Also the people are relaxed and they look after you a lot. They try just to help you have everything you want. Yeah, I feel like home, and I really appreciate this place a lot, about the people as well.

Q. About the last two matches, so against Sam and then today with Dominika, we've seen you struggle with big hitters and aggressive players. How important was the performance against both players to get your confidence up?
SIMONA HALEP: They are very different. Sam plays a lot of topspin and the balls are coming much higher. It's different to play as I played today with Dominika. She plays flat. She hits the ball.

I expected a tough match today. I thought that I will struggling a little bit with her shots, but I was very strong on my legs and I could block. I could make my game, I can say.

Yeah, it's not easy to adjust your game to such a big difference between players, game difference. I just wanted to stay focused and to fight for every ball. I did this, and I think the most important thing was that I believed that I can win.

Q. It was obviously one of your two biggest titles today. It was also some of the most emotional we've seen you after a match or on match point. Was that just the pressure falling off? Was that pure happiness and elation of getting the title, as Ben said, after not the easiest year?
SIMONA HALEP: You mean after the match, my feeling?

Q. Yeah.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I was really happy. Actually it's the second match I finish with ace, so means a lot, no? (Smiling.)

You see. His name is here. Ion Tiriac. Sorry where -- what?

Q. Trophy is more important?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah? Okay then.

Q. How much pressure did you feel? You were the only seed to make it to the quarterfinals. A lot of people on the outside at least were saying you should win this tournament at that point.
SIMONA HALEP: Nobody told me. To be honest, nobody told me that you are a favorite to win. Maybe that's why I won.

Q. Okay.
SIMONA HALEP: No, I'm honest.

Q. I guess the second thing, in 2014 you made the final here and then the final in Paris. 2016 you win here. What's next?
SIMONA HALEP: We'll see what's next. I hope I will repeat like 2014, but it's not easy. I know that now I have confidence, but every match will be different, will be like difficult, and I don't want to think too far.

I take match by match like I did here and I will keep my confidence very high. Still I have to work every day and to be there in the zone.

Q. After 2014, you said that people were coming after you, you were the hunted, not the hunter. You find yourself in that situation again. How do you think you'll grow from the experience?
SIMONA HALEP: I still hunt now, because I am 7. No, I didn't feel actually at that point that I was -- they were hunting me. They want, yeah, kind of. It's normal that the players that are ranked about 20, 30 want to beat the top 10 players. It's normal. I was in that position and I know the feeling.

But still, now I'm used to it. I don't care about who I play. I'm not thinking about the ranking anymore.

So I have more experience. I am used to this situation. Hopefully this time I will be much better and more relaxed, because it's really important to be relaxed in this sport.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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