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February 16, 2019

Simona Halep

Doha, Qatar


3-6, 6-4, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You played so well for most of the match. What do you think made the difference in the end?
SIMONA HALEP: My energy, and the fact that I was really tired in the third set. I couldn't have the chance to win this match. I had to be 100% to be able to win such a big match.

But she deserved to win. She was stronger. She was fresher. I'm not making a drama. I'm just taking it. It's a final. After Fed Cup is never easy to come and play a tournament. So I'm happy.

Q. Did the fatigue really start to hit during the match or this morning? At what point did you start to feel really down compared to the weekend?
SIMONA HALEP: I felt over the days and also yesterday. Two days ago I felt that my level is going a little bit down because of the energy that I'm losing every match. And over these two weeks is not easy to stay very high with the energy.

So I felt it, but I didn't want to give up. I think it's been a great week. I will take this final, because I'm happy to play final here in Doha.

Q. What is the reason of medical timeout?
SIMONA HALEP: My reason? The blister with blood.

Q. What do you take from this tournament? What makes you really proud of?
SIMONA HALEP: The fact that I was able to play a final, another final. To play a final is something special. It's something big. I'm really happy and proud of that.

The matches that I had against Goerges, against Tsurenko, against Svitolina, I was able to come back in some matches to test my mental, which I feel like I was very strong.

Today I was leading the match, but I didn't have enough energy to win. So I think it's a great tournament at the beginning of the year.

Q. You beat her pretty handily last year. Do you notice anything different about the way she's playing or what she did to change, take control of the match?
SIMONA HALEP: We played on clay court, so it's a little bit different. Today I think she was fresher. That's why she could take the match, to dominate the match a little bit.

My shots were not strong enough to make her, to put her in a difficulty. So I tried everything. I didn't give up. So I don't want to think that much about the match in this moment. I just want to enjoy the fact that I was able to play final.

Q. Congratulations on the whole week. On Monday you will be No. 2 again.
SIMONA HALEP: Yes (smiling).

Q. Is that very good for the season?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, it's second month of the year, so it's okay. It's good. To be No. 2 in the world, it's not bad. I'm enjoying the moment. I'm going to dream for the No. 1 (smiling).

Q. You talked about the heavy schedule that you have had last week, this week. Will that alter your calendar in the next few weeks and with the injury today? Or is it something you just carry on with?
SIMONA HALEP: No, I will carry on. It's not a real injury. Just the blister. The muscles were tired, so I just need rest. And then, for sure, I will be ready.

My calendar is the same. I will play Dubai, Indian Wells, and Miami for the moment. Nothing else.

Q. How many days' rest do you have now?
SIMONA HALEP: I don't know when I play in Dubai. Probably Wednesday because I have a bye, so two days.

Q. This was going to be a different season for you because it's your first as a reigning Grand Slam champion and first without Darren in a couple of years. How relieved are you maybe in a way to be playing this well so early in the season after what could have been kind of a stressful start?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I read an article last night about this. Darren teach me many things: how to get stronger, how to be able to solve problems on court.

I feel strong. I feel ready to face any challenge. I feel he was so important to me those four years. Now I feel I'm able to do some things without him. It's not easy, but I will try my best.

As I started this year, it looks good. I feel confident, so I don't see any problems for the future, but you never know. So I will take week by week, tournament by tournament, and they will see in the end of the year how good I could be.

Q. This is your first week officially working with Thierry. Anything that he said, or was it different in any way to work with a new coach for the first time in a while?
SIMONA HALEP: It's very different and it's not easy. I cannot say much in this moment. We just finish the tournament. Maybe next week I will have more things to say. Now it's too early.

Q. You were so close to hold your second trophy here in Doha. You offered us amazing tennis this week. Thank you very much. The director of the tournament told us earlier in a press conference the schedule will change next year. This tournament might be moved to the other week, third week of February. So can we count on your presence here in Doha?
SIMONA HALEP: Even if it don't change, I will come. So I come every time here (smiling).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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