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May 13, 2017
S. HALEP/K. Mladenovic
7-5, 6-7, 6-2
THE MODERATOR: First question for our champion.
Q. This is the first time you defended a title as big as this one. Even though you said you're not going to think about the title defense here in Madrid, how gratifying is this to you? How much does this mean to you?
SIMONA HALEP: I feel great that I could defend this title. It means a lot because it's very big and gives me confidence for the bigger tournaments.
I feel that actually I have the game to win big tournaments. I have just to be consistent mentally. Today I struggled a little bit.
But in the end, I was stronger. I was better mentally. I'm proud actually that I could stay there focused.
It means a lot. It gives me, like, a little bit of relax time. I started pretty bad this year. Now I'm back with the confidence.
I just want to enjoy this moment. I'm not thinking about the next tournaments yet. I don't know how is going to be in the future, the next tournaments, but I feel pretty confident now that I could win so many good matches.
The final was great. She played unbelievable.
Q. I know you're saying you're not going to think about the tournaments. But in terms of momentum, you reached the Madrid final, then reached the Roland Garros final. You must feel you have some momentum now. How do you protect that?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, on clay court I feel that I always have a chance to make big results. I know that in 2014 I did also finals in Roland Garros.
Now in this moment I feel that I'm able to do that again, but I don't know how is going to be. Of course, I'm thinking about the next days, next weeks, but I'm not thinking about the results because I feel better when I'm not thinking. The pressure is not negative pressure, it's positive pressure now. I want to keep this.
Of course, next week I will have little bit trouble because I'm too happy. You remember last year, what I couldn't do in a match in Rome. But hopefully this year I will be better and I go through the tournament more.
Q. In the last year you changed sometimes your trainer. Darren Cahill is an Aussie. Does that give you a different perspective?
SIMONA HALEP: I didn't change coach for three years already. C'mon, I'm good (smiling).
Q. Darren brings you more international mentality or...
SIMONA HALEP: Actually, Darren is a great coach, first of all, and a great person. He knows how to calm me down. I just try to learn how to relax myself and how to be dedicated of this sport, not of the result.
I'm doing what I love, so I have to put the desire into the positive things on court. I'm trying that. I'm working on that. I feel that I'm a much better player since I worked with him, since I'm working with him.
I hope to make him prouder winning a Grand Slam in this career.
Q. Tactically she played a very good match.
SIMONA HALEP: Many lines, c'mon.
Q. Many lines she hit. What was the key for you tactically to adjust through that match?
SIMONA HALEP: I played many times against her, but I played only on hard courts, I think. I knew that she's very solid. How she started this year was a little bit of danger there because I knew that she has confidence. When she has confidence, she's playing well, and everything is going for her, like all the lines - I repeat (smiling). Everyone has to know.
I knew she has a big serve, and also the forehand. I tried just not to play her that much on the forehand, to make her run a little bit.
I was, like, pretty focused on her dropshots. I think I got most of them, almost all, even if I didn't make the points. But I made her a little bit to be worried to put the dropshots. Was part of the tactic.
I think we did a great level. We had a great level. I don't know actually in this moment what went very well for me. I'm sure that my legs were very strong, and my head.
Q. In the second set you had one game to close the match after two hours. What were you thinking at that moment?
SIMONA HALEP: No, don't say (smiling).
I was a little bit upset at 3-2, second serve was out I think. I'm pretty sure because I saw the mark. I went a little bit down with my energy.
I'm very proud that after I lost the tiebreak, which before I had trouble losing the second set in the tiebreak, I came back stronger on court in the third set. I kept the rhythm very high, the level.
Yeah, not many negative. I didn't have negative things. I just tried to stay positive and just playing till the end of the match, till the last point. I did it well.
Q. Two titles and one final, have you realized you're the best player in the history of this tournament?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, it's nice to hear that. I wish to play like at this tournament all the tournaments. That will be nice.
Yeah, actually I'm happy that it happens here at this tournament 'cause many times I say this, it's very special, now makes it more special. I'm enjoying time here in Madrid.
Actually, I like the crowd. Today they were supporting me a lot. I want to thank them. I feel good on court.
Q. Speaking of hearing good things, did you get your congratulations from Mr. Tiriac?
SIMONA HALEP: No. I'm honest. Not yet.
Q. He's got to give you one at some point.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, actually this year I had a picture with him on court with the trophy. Makes it very nice moment.
Yeah, he's always by my side. I really want to thank him for this. He always wants me to be perfect. I'm trying to do that, but is not easy. I'm sure that he's upset I lost the second set (smiling).
I mean, deep down I think he's happy for me. I just want to thank him for his support.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports