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October 30, 2016

Dominika Cibulkova

Kallang, Singapore


6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions for your champion.

Q. Congratulations. How are you going to treat yourself to something special after this victory?
DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA: I have no idea. The first thing, the first treat I am going to give myself is a holiday. You know, it's some time off. But after this victory, I think -- no, I think -- I was supposed to fly tomorrow to holidays, but probably I am going to fly home for one day and enjoy in my country, and then we going to fly to holiday.

Q. Where are you flying?
DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA: We going to Maldives and just enjoy and relax.

Q. Congratulations. Do you remember when you have played so well, so consistent through a match? Seemed like in the first point to the last you were in control.
DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA: Yeah, that was the most important thing. You know, actually this is -- it's not strange. I cannot find the right word in English to say that, but in the first match I played against Angelique, you know, that first match gave me confidence that I can beat her.

My game is good enough to beat world No. 1. This was what -- with these thoughts I was going into this final and I was feeling it from the first point until the last point.

Yeah, only the first match point -- first two match points I realized what the situation is, but after that I just had one goal. I knew I can do it. I was playing this year quite few times good tennis like this, but I couldn't wish to do it any other match than this that match, finals of the WTA Finals.

Q. You have beaten Angie the first four times you played her. What had changed in her game, especially in the first time you met her here, that was so difficult for you to get past, and then what did you change?
DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA: Last four times I think I lost to her, or maybe five times now.

Yeah, I beat her and then four times I lost. I don't know. But she's world No. 1 so she's the best offensive game. Offensive is when you're running good, right?

Q. Defensive.
DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA: Okay. I always change it. Sorry.

She has the best defensive game for now in the world. But I knew I have my shots that I can beat her with; that was my forehand today. Actually my serve. My serve today, I was serving really, really well. Few games I played with my serve and I then was going for my forehand.

I just knew what I have to do. I think I didn't let her into the match really today with my aggressive game. I had just one goal. I was going after it. I think it was tough for her to do something on the court today.

Q. That's the most important trophy a Slovak woman has ever won in singles. What does it mean to you, and how do you think it was perceived at home?

THE MODERATOR: It's the biggest trophy a Slovak woman has won.

DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA: Yeah, I'm still not realizing that pretty much. I think I put out all my emotions of joy after the match point. It was unbelievable. Then I was waiting during the ceremony and until now I'm like, Okay, is this really happening?

So I cannot describe with words how I feel. I think I need few days to realize what I did. It's really big for me and also for my country. It just means really everything.

Q. Congratulations. Talk about match points; you needed four. Tell us what went through your mind when you got the first and then all the way up to the fourth.
DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA: Yeah, as I said, I wasn't nervous the whole match. I was just doing what I had to do. I had my strategy. I was going after it. I was confident. I believed in myself from the first until the last point.

The first time I got a little bit nervous it was during the first match point. As I said, I realized, Okay, this is it. This is the match point. I put the wrong emotions and thoughts in my head, and that's why I wasn't able to make the first one.

Second one she played a good rally.

But, really important for me is that I stayed really strong mentally. Even she had two break points, I was still in the game. Even after that third forehand I missed. I don't miss this forehand. You could see it was the first one during the whole match, or second one. I missed that easy forehand.

But I stayed calm and I knew I have to stay focused and just to forget really quickly and to focus on the serve, what I want to do next. On her break points I just hit unbelievable winners from the forehand.

Yeah, I also got a little bit lucky on the match point, but I think you get lucky when you deserve to get lucky.

Q. You've had to come back from an injury, and tonight Angelique was the favorite. Did you feel that you've always had to prove people wrong?
DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA: Actually, I don't really fight with this. You know, I don't care what people thinks. I learned to not care, because it will not change. It's just my life. I do what I want to do.

Probably, yes, but when I was younger it was something that motivated me to go forward. You know, a lot of people in the club and around me, they were like, Too small to play tennis. They underestimated me. After I started to play big tennis I didn't care what people thinks.

I just had my goals, and I was -- I think I was -- yeah, that was it. (Smiling.)

Q. The last two, three weeks you've been under a tremendous amount of pressure to get here; win Linz, and every match here seemed like your on the verge of something. You talk a lot about you mental strength and how much better it's been. Take us back to five years ago. When you started to get nervous in that final game with the first two match points, it might have been like, Oh, it's the old Dominika coming back and getting nervous again. Talk about that change and evolution.
DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA: Yeah, you know, it's big thing now in my tennis that I work with a mental coach. I work with him for one and a half year, and I start to work with him right before the surgery.

This is something that it's very important for me, because as you can see, on the court I put a lot of emotions, and emotions just affect me. This is something I started to learn how to deal with emotions and not let down myself; just to keep focused, and this is all about. I really work hard on it.

Now I see this mental part for me, it's like going to practice and actually practice on the court. As I practice on the court I practice on these things. As you can see, it's working. Yeah, I don't blame myself that I got a little bit nervous on the first two match points, because I think only very, very few people wouldn't get when you have a match point for the biggest tournament of your career.

But the way I handle it after, it shows that I really change. I belong there and I'm really, really strong.

Q. You're one of the shorter girls on the tour. Even the chair on the side seemed a little bit too high. What does it mean for you to show people, girls around the world, that you don't have to be so tall to hit hard and play good?
DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA: Yeah, this is something I was dealing with since I started to play tennis. I think I was always brave with my height. I just also maybe stubborn and brave. I really wanted to play tennis. Nobody could talk me, you know, something different.

So I'm just happy. I'm glad I can be a motivation for people who -- you know, people don't see just the big girls winning the big tournaments, but also that somebody like me have a chance to be on the big stage in the world and win a tournament.

It means everything.

Q. You said yesterday that this has been one of your longest seasons. Curious to know what is the one thing you love the most day in and day out being on the tour and playing tennis?
DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA: The winning feeling. You know, just the feeling after -- okay, you don't win this tournament every day; maybe it happens in your career just for a few times. But when you win a matches, when you -- I mean, when you struggle and you come back and all your hard work paid off, that's something why I play tennis and why I love sport.

In sport you -- it's not like you're always winning. You're up and down, up and down. That's why you appreciate after -- you know, when you do well, you appreciate it much more.

This year has been the longest season in my career. I don't complain, and I wouldn't change it for anything in the world.

Q. Can you remember exactly where you were this time last year when the Finals were being played?
DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA: I was at the holidays. I was at the holidays in Maldives.

Q. Do you go anywhere near a television to watch it?
DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA: No, of course not. No, no. I don't watch tennis when I'm on my time off. No, no. I just remember it was Halloween this time, right?

And we had Halloween party I think, so...

Q. You're going to go up to No. 5 on Monday in the rankings. What does it mean to you to be Top 5, and do you believe you're a Top 5 player?
DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA: Yeah, I believe it. You know, right now I don't doubt myself anymore. I mean, I don't doubt myself this year at all.

I always had my coach to motivate me, to put the bigger goals for me. I think that was my -- not problem, but something I was dealing with. I never saw myself as such a great player, you know, consistent player, somebody who could be Top 5.

When my coach -- I think it was after Wimbledon, I don't remember. He said, Domi, you had a great half of the season, but you're able to have a great 'nother half of the season. You just have to still stay focused and work hard. You can be Top 5 in the end of the year.

And I really, really believed him for the first time in my life. I believed, Okay, this is something I can do, I want to do. I'm not saying I was coming to this tournament to win it, but when I was so close before the finals, I was convinced that I can beat Angie today.

Q. Just going off Barry's question, what did you dress up as for Halloween last year?
DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA: I don't know. I didn't wear any costume because we were on holidays. I don't remember.

Q. You bring so much energy on court and you say you're going to the Maldives where you have to sit still. Even on court your legs are going up and down sitting down at the changeover. Does Dominika Cibulkova sit still?
DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA: I only sit still. I do nothing because I think I spend so much energy on the court that off on the court I'm just off.

But actually every player has different level of emotions and intensity when they play their best tennis. Me, I have to be like this on the court. I have to be pumped and really -- sometimes, you know, I -- when I win a game I run to the bench and I just talk to myself.

These are the things that keep me focused, the things what I can put negative thoughts out of my head. I just go through it like this. This is the way I am. Yeah, and I enjoy it on the court. (Smiling.)

Q. Champion here; now Top 5, as Courtney was saying. What does it change for you about the expectations in your career? Do you fell like now that you have this title you expect more, or does nothing change internally?
DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA: You know, I think there is another challenge for me. You know, actually, right now I'm not feeling tired of course after win like this. You have adrenaline and all the emotions. I feel like, Okay, let's go to the next season. I know in two days I am going to be really happy to have some time off.

No, I don't see it as expectation. I see the next season for me like another challenge. I really want to do more. Now I believe in myself that I can really be even better than this.

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