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May 11, 2019

Kiki Bertens

Madrid, Spain


6-4, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. It was a tough match. And, especially in the second set, she was pushing to get that break back. What was the key to getting this done in two sets?
KIKI BERTENS: I think I played very solid today. I think at the beginning, I was a little bit searching for my game still, but I think the rest of the match I played really solid, really smart, and I was just going for my shots.

Maybe a little bit lucky like on the 4-3 game when I hit the ball in the fence and it hit her (smiling), but sometimes you need a little luck (laughing).

But no, I'm just happy how I was able to finish the match.

Q. You can do a lot of different things on the clay court, from serving to moving, drop shots. Do you feel like a complete player?
KIKI BERTENS: Yeah, on the clay, I really feel like I can play my own game. Even, like, when I don't play well I'm still, I'm not panicking too much which, on other surfaces, it happens a little bit too much (smiling). But on clay I feel the confidence, I feel the balance in my game, so it's easier to return for me as well because I can go a little more back.

So, I feel like almost in every game I have some opportunities, so it gives me a good balance, I would say.

Q. Raemon Sluiter, your trainer, he still plays both with two hand or one hand both side, but is that a big influence, or do you correct him, or does he have an influence in your game?
KIKI BERTENS: (Laughing) No, not at all. I would say I can still learn a lot from him. Since I have been working with him I have improved a lot because we had so many times, he hits the ball so direct, or direct, so yeah I have to get used to that a lot.

But so, yeah, I learned a lot from him, so it doesn't matter, like, if he is playing with one hand or two. I think he should stick with the two-handers yes (laughing).

Q. I imagine you have been playing tennis for 20 years or so. In your life, have you ever...
KIKI BERTENS: Thanks (laughing).

Q. In your whole life have you ever won a point by hitting someone with the ball from the back of the court?
KIKI BERTENS: No. No. No, first time. Really ugly (laughing).

Q. It's something of the rule. If you hit a serve and the ball goes directly to Simona without bouncing, it is your point.

Q. You are not going to start...
KIKI BERTENS: No, I will miss all the time. If you try to hit your opponent, it is not a good thing, no (laughing).

Q. Kiki, your biggest title so far. How are you feeling? Has it sunk in yet?
KIKI BERTENS: Well, not really, I would say. But I'm just really happy. I think after every title you feel something, of course. Sometimes it's a lot of emotions. Sometimes it is really happiness. Sometimes it's just like not believing. But right now, I don't know yet how I feel.

I just feel really happy. I am really proud of this week. I played some good tennis. No. 4 in the world on Monday, so it's, yeah. I don't know, it is just all amazing things.

Q. You and Simona are so good on this surface, but you also play very differently on the surface. Can you talk about her game now on clay just in terms of what the challenges that she poses and how you were able to combat that?
KIKI BERTENS: I think Simona, when she is at her best, she really tries to playing aggressive, like sometimes she saw today I was opening cross-court and then she was hitting down the line to my backhand again, like pretty hard, and then I was really struggling with that.

So she, I would say, she tried to step a little bit more in the court and I think that's when she plays at her best, but, yes, sometimes it is tough, like. With my shots when I try to hit it a bit higher, and with more spin on that, she cannot do that.

So it's, yeah, it was a little bit like, sometimes she played a few good games and I was playing well again, so the momentum switched a little bit during the match, but yeah, I think I played more solid today (smiling).

Q. The next step on clay is probably Roland Garros?
KIKI BERTENS: Yes, so what is your question (laughing)?

Q. The next step is to win Madrid Masters. Your next step in your mind is to win Roland Garros?
KIKI BERTENS: Yeah, of course, you always go for that, but it's still a long way to go. But, yeah, of course, after this week, I feel great. I know I can beat a lot of girls. I can compete with the best of the world on clay, so I'm really happy with that and, of course, we will see in a few weeks who is going to win the French.

Q. You talked about preferring clay to other surfaces, but over the past year you have had your best results at Wimbledon and everywhere else. How much doing it on your worst other surfaces help you on clay?
KIKI BERTENS: I think it helped me a lot because, on the other surfaces, I have to play more aggressive, which also helped me a lot on the clay courts. So, I think I'm at my best when I have the good balance, like with the defense and then attack where I can.

So, no, for sure. Also my serve has improved a lot and also because of the other surfaces. So yeah, I think it's better that I spent a lot of time on the hard courts last year (smiling).

Q. How much did last year's final help you today?
KIKI BERTENS: A lot (laughing). It was -- of course, last year was my first, like, big final. It was tough with the support, like, the crowd, it is like pretty noisy here, and then it was a really tough match against Petra. She played really well. I also played a really good match. And it was really tough to lose that one.

But today, I was going out there, like, confident, just playing my game, just being busy with that and with nothing else. And so I didn't really feel the stress today. So I think, yeah, because of last year, that's why I felt more ready to win it now.

Q. You said physically it was a bit of a struggle yesterday. With the effort today and the emotions, are you still planning to go to Rome, or are you going to go home? What are your plans?
KIKI BERTENS: My plan is to go to Rome. I have no idea how the body is going to react. It was, like, still a tough week. It is not that I played really long matches, but still you played a few matches here (smiling).

All the emotions are coming out now. So I have to see how I feel in a few days. But it's good that I have a bye in the first round, so we travel there tomorrow. We will have a hit on Monday and then see how the body is feeling.

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