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July 31, 2016

Simona Halep

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

S. HALEP/M. Keys

7-6, 6-3

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Is it fair to say you won that title without playing your best tennis?
SIMONA HALEP: Actually it was not my best tennis because I couldn't play my best tennis. She was hitting very strong. As anyone knows, I cannot hit stronger than her because she's very strong and it's impossible for my height and for my body.

I try just to put the ball away from her, just to make her run. I think I did it pretty well, and she missed. It was really tough for me to make winners today because her ball was coming too hard.

I'm tired (smiling).

Q. Can you explain all the breaks in the first set.
SIMONA HALEP: It was tough. I think I was very tight on my serve because I know she's going to return very strong. I don't know, I wanted to make something big with the serve. I think it was too much pressure on me.

But in the second set I didn't lose serve, so that made the second set easier to win. It was tough today. I couldn't make my game easy because, like I said, she's strong.

Q. How do you explain the success you had on her serve today?
SIMONA HALEP: I am a good returner, I think. With anyone, I return pretty well. I can say I have strong legs and I can be solid on the back. I can return all the heavy balls that she was hitting today.

Yeah, I like to return. I'm working a lot on the return.

Q. Is it safe to say that Madison is one of those players where she just doesn't let you play the game you want to play? How much did you have to rely on a Plan B to beat her?
SIMONA HALEP: 100% because Plan A is just to go and to be aggressive. But, as I said, was impossible. I knew that I have to hit balls back and not hit slowly because she can come and attack them.

I just wanted to be strong on my legs and just to open the court. That was everything in my mind when I started to play.

Q. Difficulty serving out the first set, getting broken. It looked like it was more nerves.
SIMONA HALEP: My shoulder was dead. But, no, I think I had pressure little bit because she returns well. I wanted to do something big with the serve, and I think was not good idea.

In the second set I relax my arm, and was better.

Q. A lot of Romanian flags in the crowd, a lot of support. Speak about Montréal and the experience of having all that support here.
SIMONA HALEP: I like a lot being here in Montréal. Feels like in Europe, like I said many times. With all the Romanians, I felt like home. Many people were coming every day, actually not just today. It was an amazing atmosphere down there.

The thing is that the man that announced us on the court today said in Romanian two words, so that motivated me a lot. I said that I have to win.

Q. This is two tournaments in a row you've won. To what do you attribute this success after winning Bucharest?
SIMONA HALEP: Bucharest is a small tournament and we cannot compare. Still was a good title for me. I had a lot of confidence coming here that I won four matches in a row there.

It was tough to come from the clay court to the hard court. But if I have confidence, I can play my game easy and I can win matches.

Here I won matches with top players. That makes me more, like, happy and relaxed that I have a good level of tennis in this moment.

Q. You spent a few hours on the court this week with singles and doubles. How would you describe your level of energy this afternoon?
SIMONA HALEP: Around two, three (smiling).

In the morning, I moved the practice. I had at 11:00 and I moved it at 12:00 because I couldn't move. I said it's good to practice just before the match, to be warm, to go on court and see how I can be.

I mean, I'm tired. It's normal. I had so many matches here, tough matches, also emotional. Was not easy.

But I think doubles help me to exercise my return and also the serve. So I take it everything like positive things and just enjoying. Today was just in my mind that is the last match of the tournament and I have to leave everything on court. So that was all.

Q. Here in Montréal when 40 years ago Nadia did the perfect competition, what do you feel about this coincidence?
SIMONA HALEP: It's nice. When I arrived here first day, I went to that event, big event, for her, that was done for her. Motivated me a little bit.

It feels nice that after 40 years I won here in Montréal. It's a nice thing for Romanians. I'm happy that I could do it.

Q. If you make the final, you get tickets to a concert tonight.
SIMONA HALEP: You think I'm able to go? I have one more match. I saw Celine in March when I was in Vegas. I will see her soon, but not tonight.

Q. What is your plan going forward for the next few weeks?
SIMONA HALEP: Break. Three days break, four. I have to negotiate (smiling).

Just enjoying the moment. Celebrating a little bit this title. It's really important for me. Then back to work. I have Cincinnati coming, then US Open. I want to stay focused and to stay with the confidence high.

Q. Will you leave the States?
SIMONA HALEP: I don't know yet.

Q. This week there is a little bit of discussion between you and Darren on the court wanting to play the way you want to play to win the big titles as opposed to just winning the match. How successful do you think you were this week implementing that?
SIMONA HALEP: Actually when he says I have to look at the big picture, makes myself more relaxed and I can easy do my job on court, what we have spoken before.

But yesterday and today, the on-court coaching were a little bit tough. I had many emotions. I was nervous when I spoke. I was too negative I think these two days.

But he said he understands because I'm tired. So all good.

But, yeah, helps me when he's more relaxed than me and he just shows me that I have a good game and it's good if I practice everything for the future, not just for the tournament. So it's good.

I have to go play now. Sorry (smiling).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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