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October 21, 2017

Simona Halep

Kallang, Singapore

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. That's quite an introduction.
SIMONA HALEP: Nice introduction, no?

Q. Very good. How does it feel to have finally made it? How do you feel about starting this tournament as the world No. 1?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, it's a great feeling, for sure. I'm really excited to be here and to be No. 1 in the world. Inside I can say that something is changed. I'm very happy about what I did. But outside is just normal, normal things. Nothing changes. It's just I have to work harder to keep that (smiling). But I'm here just to enjoy the moment and we'll see what is going to happen.

Q. Having the time to kind of go back home to reflect on everything after Beijing, when did it finally hit you, like, the whole No. 1 situation?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, the day that I won the match against Ostapenko, that was the best day, by far, best feeling. But when I went home, I had all the friends, family close to me, and it was -- I had some good dinners with them. We celebrated a little bit. But I haven't done a big party. So I'm waiting to finish here to go to the holiday and then I will have a big party.

Q. And you said that you feel like something's changed inside. Talk about that. What do you mean?
SIMONA HALEP: The dream came true. Is just the best feeling that I ever had in my tennis career so far.

It's nice. I'm just enjoying the moment. I cannot describe in words what I feel, but it's a good feeling. I'm happy when I'm going to the courts now.

Q. You are in Caroline Garcia's group. Have you been surprised of the past few weeks she's had winning two tournaments in a row and finally qualifying to Singapore? How do you think it's coming, or are you a little bit surprised that she made it?
SIMONA HALEP: I was not surprised, because I knew that she's a very good player. I played against her in Toronto, if I remember well. She played really well in China. Also in the final. She played amazing, and she deserved to win that title.

And of course after all the results that she did this year, she deserves to be here. I can say that I'm excited to meet her again. Maybe I can take the revenge from China (smiling).

Q. How important is it for you to keep the world No. 1 ranking, and why do you say it's a dream come true? Why is it so important for you?
SIMONA HALEP: I think for everyone is the most important thing to finish the year No. 1, but is not going to be easy. Here everyone is going to play the best tennis, and every match is going to be like a final, as I said many times.

So I'm not thinking about that. I play better when I'm not thinking about No. 1, so I have a lot of experience this year. I'm just going there to give my best, to try to be focused on what I have to play in each match, and we will see at the end who is going to be No. 1.

Q. What are your thoughts on your group and also your thoughts on the other group? Do you think you've got the best of the two?
SIMONA HALEP: I have to run a lot in my group (smiling). All the players are like moving well. I don't have big hitters, yeah, as I know. Garcia is playing a little bit harder and she hits the ball stronger.

Yeah, it's going to be a very tough group. Every match is going to be difficult. But, you know, we have the top eight players in the world, and everyone is playing crazy tennis.

I just want to go there and to try to win every match I can.

Q. I'm curious, it's a long season in Asia, but you made the decision to go home in between. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of that? Because then when you come back you have to obviously get used to the time change again.
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I wanted to go home because I could win that match and I could be No. 1 in the world, and I wanted to be with my family, with my father, with my brother, so I think it was the best decision.

Coming here, I had no problems with the jet lag, so lucky me. I am okay. I'm feeling good. I'm feeling fit. So ready to play. We will see Monday.

Q. Can you talk a little about the courts on how it's playing and how much of a factor it's going to be down the road as the tournament progresses?
SIMONA HALEP: I practiced every day, for sure, since I'm here. The court is a little bit slower. The wood makes a difference a little bit, heavy for the legs, but it's a nice court. Like fourth year playing on the same courts, so is nothing different. It's okay.

I don't know if it's gonna be the perfect surface for me, but I played in 2014 good matches here, so I'm just looking forward to play on it and definitely is a nice stadium, so I will enjoy the moment there.

Q. I was wondering about the speed of the court. Do you think as it's slower it will be better for you against Garcia or doesn't change anything?
SIMONA HALEP: I don't know now. We will see Monday. I don't know if it's gonna change something. I don't know to say which one is my favorite surface. I had good results on all of them, so I cannot say much about that.

Q. With the fact that there have been five different world No. 1s this year, and also seven women have the chance to end the year at the top, do you think this is the most open and competitive that women's tennis has been and do you think it's good for the sport?
SIMONA HALEP: I said at the beginning of the year when I heard that Serena is pregnant that now every tournament is open, and we saw that we had different Grand Slam champion and many No. 1s in the world.

So, yeah, every tournament is open. Everyone can finish on No. 1 this year. Yeah, no one is going to dominate how Serena did, for sure.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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