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May 8, 2019

Simona Halep

Madrid, Spain

S. HALEP/V. Kuzmova

6-0, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. You lost 12 points in that match. You won 48. Do you remember a match like that where you were that dominant in points?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I don't really remember. I think it was the best match that I have ever had. I remember once I won 6-0, 6-0 in 2016 in Bucharest the final, so I don't know if it was so fast (laughing). So it's the best match and I'm happy with the way I played.

Q. When you have such a one-sided win, does it impact on your expectations in win the title this week?
SIMONA HALEP: It's tough to expect something more from this match because I'm not healthy 100 percent and my energy's not 100 percent. But after this match, of course, my confidence goes higher.

But tomorrow is another match, a new match, so it will be different.

Expectations are not very high this week. I just want to go there and to give everything I have. It is a tough week, but it is also a good week.

Q. You said at the beginning of the year that when you didn't have a coach you wanted to chill a bit more than normal. Thinking back, how has that been for you?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, as you know now I have a coach, a Romanian coach, Daniel, and I'm working hard every day.

The chill part has finished (laughing), it was at the beginning of the year. But I feel good. I feel ready every time I step on the court. But I need more matches and I need more wins to get the confidence back and to be at the highest level. But I'm not stressing myself.

This year, I just want to see how good I can be, how good results I can have and then we'll see in the end.

Q. You have played Viktoria for the first time today. When you play a player for the first time, does it make you focus more compared to playing someone who you have played 20 times before?
SIMONA HALEP: When you play with someone that you don't know, it is a bit tough because you don't know what to expect. But today I just wanted to be focussed on myself, like I always say. For me, it's the most important thing to do and I think I didn't miss much. I played nearly perfect today.

Q. You also played in the doubles today. You played in doubles in Miami, too. Is there ever an intention to play doubles in the Grand Slams, your last appearance was in 2015?
SIMONA HALEP: Not for the moment (laughing). I just want to focus on singles and I play some doubles for some matches. And I love to play with Irina, we are friends, and it is nicer to play. But I play a few times a year, so in my mind it's not being a professional doubles player, so I will stay with singles for the moment.

Q. Speaking of playing a near-perfect match, you hit only four unforced errors, 14 winners, six from six on breakpoints, 44 minutes only. She only won one point behind her first serve. Pretty good.
SIMONA HALEP: Not a bad statistic.

Q. Not a bad rate. So, when that sort of match is happening, which is very rare anywhere on the tour, what does it feel like when you are dominating that much on the court?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I felt peaceful on court. And sometimes during the matches you feel insecure of your game but today was not the case. Today, I felt every single shot and I knew that I can win every point against her. So I think the confidence was really very high.

But I had doubles after and I woke up (laughing). So, it was a normal match in doubles. And now I have again to think about the game for tomorrow and I know that what happened this morning will not be every day. So I will take just the confidence from this match and nothing else. So it's finished and it's gone, so now it's another challenge coming tomorrow.

Q. You have said you have low expectations. Do you think those low expectations make you a better player in some way?
SIMONA HALEP: Normally I play well with the pressure, so I still feel the pressure because I had so many points to defend. But with them I have learned that it's not about defending points, it's about building the points week-by-week. So that one is not that much of a pressure. But, you know, without expectations, you are more relaxed, you don't feel stressed that you have to win that match, but still, when I step on the court, I want to win every match I play, so it's in the middle.

Q. What are your thoughts on Ash Barty?
SIMONA HALEP: A tough match, a tough match. I played against her this year. That was the first match of the year so I hope tomorrow is going to be different. It's clay court. I think we never played together on clay. I know she's playing with a lot of confidence.

She's having a great season, great results, so it's a big challenge for me. As I said, I have no expectation but I want to play a better match than the other one that we played together. So hopefully I can play close to my best match again.

Q. It's been six years since you made your big breakthrough in Rome 2013. Now you are playing against a young player like Kuzmova. How different are you as a person now as a top player compared to when you were like Kuzmova is now?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, it's a big difference. Many years, many matches. A lot of experience. I'm totally different. And I'm happy with the way I improved during these years. The pressure was on many times. The pressure for Grand Slams, losing so many finals.

I had finals that I couldn't win and I was upset, I was disappointed, so these things together made me a stronger person also on court and off court.

So, I feel happy with the way I am now and I'm thankful to this sport because I had so many moments that gave me a good education also and also life lessons. So I feel ready to face anything now in life.

I know it's just a sport, but for me it means a lot in this moment and it's beautiful what I'm having now.

Q. Did you think that all these lessons and this journey that you have been on would happen for you when you were a young player just trying to be the best?
SIMONA HALEP: Always I had a dream when I was 14, 15 when I decided to be a professional tennis player. I had a dream to be a champion. But honestly, I didn't have this in my mind to be No. 1 and to win a Grand Slam.

But every day that I have worked it was for this dream, so every thing has paid off.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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