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October 28, 2018

Kristina Mladenovic

Timea Babos

Kallang, Singapore


6-4, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Congratulations. Just how pleased are you with your performance today and throughout the week in Singapore?
KRISTINA MLADENOVIC: I think she answered that question already four times. Now she's letting me to lead. (Smiling.)

It feels amazing. We were saying it feels like unreal and a fairytale. To actually start the season, winning Australian Open was our first tournament of the season because we didn't play anything before that.

And obviously to win the WTA Finals, I'm speaking for myself, an unreal feeling to win that very prestigious title for the first time. I couldn't ask for better moment and partner to share it with than my best friend.

For her was to defend her title, so this is pretty impressive. Yeah, we are actually extremely proud of how the week went, but also, you know, all the efforts we went through throughout the whole year, so it's a very nice reward for us.

Q. I asked Kiki this at the start of the week, but having not played with one another for three years, how do you feel you're different as a partnership now as compared to when you last played here three years ago?
TIMEA BABOS: Oh, God, we are so much better. (Laughter.) You cannot imagine our relationship, like, every relationship has on-and-off moments, but this year also we have -- it's normal. I mean, we spend a lot of time together not only in our job but on court, as well. Every time we have tougher moments, we just come back stronger.

Same after US Open. Losing that final was, I think, the most painful loss in our doubles career. But we came back stronger. We are here with the best players, doubles players and of course singles players in the world. It's just an amazing story and feeling.

As Kiki said, to share it with her and to live through these moments together, it's very, very special. I'm really, really glad to be part of this story.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about what makes your partnership work on the court? Obviously you guys spend time together off the court, but what makes tennis-wise your partnership work well?
KRISTINA MLADENOVIC: Yeah, I think, you know, from the beginning we are on the same page. I think personality, in a big way, it's the same. You know, like, we have the same work ethic. We have the same ambitions. We are really working a lot -- our priority is singles, to be honest. And that's why this story is nice because we kind of just join each other's game forces, all the work we put through throughout the year on the doubles court and just try to improve, have fun.

Of course we go after those big moments like today and big titles, but, yeah, otherwise --

TIMEA BABOS: Our game actually match, also, beside all this what she's saying. Our game is also matching big time.

KRISTINA MLADENOVIC: Yeah, I wanted to come at this, also, that this week was the first week where we actually practiced some specifically doubles. That's what I wanted to explain, that throughout the year we work on our singles game, but it completes each other's game really well on the doubles court.

I think each other's weapons are perfect match for the doubles game, and we just -- our communication is good. You know, doubles is going so fast that sometimes you don't really have time to call the balls and to communicate, and I feel like we feel each other's mindset. So yeah, it's pretty fun to try to associate our both games.

Q. How do you guys see the doubles field changing and evolving this year? You and the Czechs both really seemed to come up through the ranks and CoCo and Ash, as well. How do you see the field changing as compared to maybe the couple of years?
TIMEA BABOS: Yeah, I mean, the last couple of years we were still top 10 players, and, I mean, there are so many great players out there and some new teams every year. We are definitely not gonna have some different partners. We are going to stay the same team, the same Kiki and Timea.

Yeah, I think doubles is becoming more important. People like to watch. Of course, at the end of the day, it's a big prestige to play on these tournaments. We all work to play at the Masters, to play the big finals of big tournaments. So it's an honor to be here, and everyone is working for these moments.

Yeah, I mean, of course, as you said, there are some new great players, great teams with great results. I think it's great for tennis and for WTA to see new players and to see new teams, to know more people, know more players. So I think it's a really great story for that, too.

Q. And talk about the No. 1 ranking. You guys were so close at this tournament. How much of that will be a goal for next year? Kiki, how much would that mean for you to finally get to No. 1 with Timea?
KRISTINA MLADENOVIC: Yeah, it's like a double feeling. We knew that after this tournament we actually could reach and finish the year No. 1. She already reached that goal and was at the No. 1 position. I was not yet.

The year-end is even more sweeter, like for sure. That's one of the goals of everybody. I think it's an amazing achievement.

But I was just saying that actually I'm kind of person I prefer titles (smiling). So it's okay for this week. It's true that they are ahead of us for, I don't know, we are just wondering how much, so few hundred points. They really deserve it, too. It's really nice that we have this kind of competition and it's really close and entertaining and suspense for everybody, for us players but also I guess for the crowd and for the fans following.

Yeah, if I had to choose for this week, for example, I think I'm pretty happy and satisfied for the trophy.

Q. You guys have known each other for so long. Do you remember your initial impressions of each other, how you met and how that's changed over the years?
KRISTINA MLADENOVIC: Yeah. Under-14, European Championship by team, the qualifying, and I remember this Hungarian girl hitting the ball so hard. You cannot imagine. We actually played singles against each other.

TIMEA BABOS: We did play.

KRISTINA MLADENOVIC: How old we were? It was in France?

TIMEA BABOS: Yeah, it was in France. We were 13, yeah.

Q. Initial impressions, how you became friends.
KRISTINA MLADENOVIC: Me, my first impression? I was, like, Oh, wow, this girl is going to be so tough to beat.

TIMEA BABOS: And me, from Hungary, we always come with not-great team, like always terrible conditions and we arrive to France, everything is there, like, amazing indoors, and then we are playing these girls that they are playing so good.

So for me it was, like, Okay, I think I really have to work my butt off to try, to compete with this one here (smiling).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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