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October 20, 2018

Kiki Bertens

Kallang, Singapore

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Welcome to Singapore. I'm sure it's been a quick turnaround for you from Moscow to here. How have you found the experience so far? How was last night?
KIKI BERTENS: It was really great, like, first to get the call that I got in here, because it was a kind of a weird feeling losing in Moscow and not be able to play here, but then I am. So I'm really happy with that. I had a good arrive here. Yesterday was also a great night. Yeah, I'm ready to start the matches.

Q. Was it a bit of an emotional roller coaster, maybe feeling you hadn't qualified and then you had? What was going through your mind while that was happening?
KIKI BERTENS: Yeah, it was a lot going on. Yeah, I think after my loss in Moscow I felt really disappointed not making it. Of course you're sad afterwards, but you know there is still a chance. But on the way to the airport I got the call. I had some emotions there, yes.

Yeah, it's a little bit mixed but it's been really good, and I'm really enjoying my time here.

Q. Being here in doubles last year, making the final, how good is it to be back here again this time for singles?
KIKI BERTENS: It's really nice. I think it also helped a lot that I was here last year already, because we arrived quite late, but I still like knew already the way around here a little bit. I think that's always good. I think it just also is going to help me on court to play the matches.

Q. Same group, there is a Japanese, 21 years old, a big serve, big forehand. How did you feel about her?
KIKI BERTENS: Yeah, she's a great player. She had a great year, winning also New York. It's going to be a really tough match, but I'm looking forward to all these tough matches and to play some good tennis.

Q. Both players first times for singles, the Finals. How is it feeling that?
KIKI BERTENS: Yeah, I think for first time you're always a little bit nervous but also really excited to play well. I think it's just every match is a new opportunity to play some good tennis. I think that's where every player is going.

Q. You got the call that you were direct qualified into Singapore while you were on the way to the airport. We you on the way to the airport to fly home or to fly here?
KIKI BERTENS: No, I had to come here anyway because I was the first alternate, so I was going to come anyways. But, yeah, it was a better feeling to be on the flight sitting there like knowing that I had to play a few days after than maybe sitting here all week and not playing. So, yeah, that was a good feeling.

Q. Both Sloane and Pliskova were in here earlier talking about how it was just an insane situation to have to play the last few weeks and chase qualification and play with unnecessary stress. So what was it kind of like for you through Asia to really chase that as hard as you were? Can you flush that out of your system and play this tournament relaxed, or is there a residual hangover from stress?
KIKI BERTENS: I hope so. I hope it's going to be a little bit more relaxed from now on. I think there is always going to be some stress and tension. You always want to finish your season on good terms, because it's been an incredible season so far.

Yeah, I think the last few weeks were a little bit more stressful. You try not to think about it, try just to play your match and go from there, but in your head you know like how many points you need to make Singapore. That would be like really a good season ending.

But, yeah, that's how it works. I think everyone had to deal with the pressure. But in the end we're all here.

Q. In addition to Singapore, the top 10 debut that you made, I know that was a really big deal for you, crossing that milestone. How did it feel to finally do that? Just in general, the season, checking off all of these little milestone boxes, what are you the most proud of that you have been able to accomplish this year?
KIKI BERTENS: I think like being here last year was like -- of course it was great to be here in doubles but it was also mixed feelings. I was not really feeling good on the court, so I had to use my holidays to think about what I wanted.

Yeah, now I'm here. The only goal at the beginning from this year was to enjoy my tennis more. That's what I did. And then of course during the year, there came some goals, like also with the ranking, reaching the top 10, and then Singapore. Yeah, I have reached all my goals for this year, so I can be really proud of that and happy of that. Hopefully we can also finish it really well here.

Q. You played big tournaments before, Grand Slams, mandatories. This is one of the few you have to hang out with the other top eight players. Hang out, take photos. What's that like for you? How do you like that?
KIKI BERTENS: To be honest, it's not really my thing. I have to get used to that also a little bit more.

But yeah, I really enjoyed it last night. I thought it was going to be a little bit more stressful for me to do all that kind of stuff, but no, it was all good. I still feel good. Yeah, I'm also not too exhausted over everything to just start this tournament really well.

Q. And you played well on these courts last year. Have you had a chance to practice? What do you make of the conditions, if you even remember what they were like a year ago?
KIKI BERTENS: Yeah, I hit already twice yesterday and today, and it's feeling good. I think the court is really nice. You have to get used to a little bit with the lights and with the dark behind.

Yeah, no, we have some time still to practice. I'm playing on Monday, so it's a good thing.

Q. You have had a pretty good year. You're doing well on surfaces other than clay. Do you feel that there is maybe a bit more motivation for you to do well here, to show that you can continue your success on other surfaces?
KIKI BERTENS: Yeah, I hope so. I think in the last few years my results only came on the clay. So I was always really confident on that but not so much on the other surfaces.

Yeah, this year I won more tournaments on hard court than on clay. That's a good thing. It gives me a good feeling, more confidence. Yeah, that's helping me a lot also I think to play here against the best players of the world.

Q. You're not the only woman from your country here. Demi obviously is in the doubles field. It's been quite an unexpected probably season for Dutch tennis with both of you, because she said she didn't expect any of this, either. What do you think that this means back home? It does seem like there is a hunger for this sort of success amongst the Dutch tennis.
KIKI BERTENS: Yeah, I think it's a bit more. I cannot really follow that, because we are not home so much so you don't get so much of that.

But it's been a great season also for Demi. We played the first tournament of the year together in Brisbane, and then she had some goals for this year. I think she said like top 30 or top 35 and then we said already, No, you have to go much higher for that.

Yeah, she's also top 10 now. She's doing great. It's also great that she can finish here her season and that I'm here for the singles. I think it's a really big thing for Dutch tennis.

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