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July 13, 2019
Wimbledon, London, England
S. HALEP/S. Williams
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How does it feel to be a member of the All England Club?
SIMONA HALEP: It feels good. I wanted this badly. When I started the tournament, I talked to the people from the locker room that my dream is to become a member here. So today it's real and I'm really happy.
Q. After winning Roland Garros in 2018, you had to find new goals. How did you do it and neutralize the game of Serena after losing to her many times?
SIMONA HALEP: So I will start talking about the match.
I knew that I have to be aggressive, being 100% for every ball, that I don't have to let her come back to the match because she's so powerful and so strong. She knows how to manage every moment. So I knew that I have to stay there, which I did pretty well today.
I'm very sure that was the best match of my life. Also on grass against her is never easy. So I'm really proud of my game of today and the whole tournament.
I managed after winning the French Open pretty well, even if I was a little bit exhausted in the end of last year. I took a big holiday, a long holiday, and then I said it is a chill year. But I meant I wanted to relax as a person, not as a player. I still work hard for every day, every match, every tournament. That's why I was able to win this tournament now in this moment.
I've been professional all the time. I'm happy about what I achieved these two weeks. I can't describe how I feel winning Wimbledon. It's pretty special.
Q. When we last spoke, you said it was your mother's dream for you to play in the Wimbledon final. What has she said to you after winning it, because you're the first person from Romania to win it?
SIMONA HALEP: Who?
Q. You're the first person from Romania.
SIMONA HALEP: Yes. But who?
Q. You said your mother had the dream to play in the Wimbledon final.
SIMONA HALEP: She didn't say anything because she was crying (smiling). Just I hugged her and I kissed her. I knew she's very emotional. I just told her that we'll talk later.
Q. I wanted to see what it felt like for you to be on the court mentally playing so well. Did you have to think a lot or were you able to shut your mind off and let your body take over?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I thought about the match, but I didn't think at all against who I play. I always been intimidated a little bit when I faced Serena. She's an inspiration for everyone and the model for everyone.
Today I decided before the match that I'm going to focus on myself and on the final of Grand Slam, not on her. That's why I was able to play my best, to be relaxed, and to be able to be positive and confident against her.
Q. What are you thinking when you're up 4-Love after 11 minutes against Serena in a Grand Slam final?
SIMONA HALEP: Nothing.
Q. Are you trying not to think about the score at that point?
SIMONA HALEP: Set and 5-2 when I was serving, after few points during the match, I looked at the scoreboard. I said, Okay, it's 5-2, it's real. Then I just played every ball. I didn't think at the score at all.
Q. Daniel Dobre was in tears.
SIMONA HALEP: Every match.
Q. Have you had a chance to talk to him? Can you explain what it means, like, for him to bring you to this after Darren.
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I have a good team. I have good people around me. I really thank them.
He is very emotional. I like that. He's a good person. We talked after the match just a little bit, not tennis. He said that it was unbelievable how I could win this match.
Of course, Darren is part of this. I talk with him all the time. He came to see my match again today. His heart is with us. Made me a little bit stronger today, honestly, to be able to believe that I have the chance to win.
So all of the people that I have in my team are great. They help me to trust in myself that I'm able to do good things.
Q. Did you decide before the match to start in that way, very, very fast? If you decide this before the match, it was because you see what happened to Serena in previous finals? Which is your idea about what happened to Serena?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I decided this morning how I have to play against her. I knew exactly what I have to do to put her in trouble, not letting her make her game. When she has time, she plays unbelievable.
I played many times against her. I knew how the ball is coming. I knew what she doesn't like that much.
So I don't know. Today I just went for it like in Singapore. I had that image in my head. I really believed there is the chance to do the same thing.
I knew I have to stay there every ball. Otherwise, when she comes back, she's very powerful.
Q. After the match you said you were very nervous and it even affected your stomach. How did you get over that feeling of nervousness and change things?
SIMONA HALEP: Well, the nerves were positive this time. So nothing was negative. I felt in the stomach. I tried to control the emotions. I tried to focus on the game, what I have to play. In the warmup I was great also. So gave me little bit confidence more that I feel the ball and all is good.
I always play well when I have emotions. I don't try to ignore them or I don't fight against them. I try to take them as a positive and just trying to control them to the right -- to put them in the right way, which I did today. That's why I was able to do the best match.
Q. You said a couple days ago you wanted the Duchess of Cambridge to be watching you today. Do you think she was your lucky mascot? What did she say to you after the match?
SIMONA HALEP: Was?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, it was an honor to play in front of her. I had the chance to meet her after the match. She's very kind, very nice.
Yeah, it was an extra boost when I saw all of them there, the Royal family. Winning in this position, it's really nice. It's unforgettable.
Q. You said when you came here in the locker room you were thinking about trying to become a member. At what point in your career playing Wimbledon did you feel winning Wimbledon could be a possibility for you?
SIMONA HALEP: Today (smiling).
I never thought. I'm very honest. I never thought that I'm able to win on grass with all these players that are very tall and serving with a lot of power.
But this year, as I said every day, I started to feel the game more and more. I started to feel safe on court, which helped me a lot to believe.
Q. You said Federer is your role model, your idol before. Yesterday after he won the semifinal, he gave you encouragement.
SIMONA HALEP: I read what he said. I thank to him. He is very nice. His words made me happy. Also I really believe that there is a chance if I listen to him. Because if you listen to him, you get the good things (smiling). So I did that.
Q. What do you think the reaction will be like in Romania, what you've done today? What will it be like when you go back to Romania?
SIMONA HALEP: No idea. But first I have the champions dinner tomorrow night. I'm not rushing to go home.
Monday I think will be maybe similar to what happened in French Open. We'll see. I have no idea.
Q. In a great championship, there's a moment when you win championship point. It's very hard to describe. Can you tell us what that moment was like.
SIMONA HALEP: Well, I felt my legs that are very soft after I won the last point. I didn't know actually how to react. I just did natural what it came in my inside.
Yeah, it's tough to describe the moment. You just feel, like, light, you feel everything it's beautiful, and you just try to enjoy. It's tough to say.
Q. She served fairly well in terms of percentages. She was up in 68% first serves in. It seemed like you were reading the serve very well today, making a lot of returns. Is that how you felt? Did you just kind of know where she was going to be serving, or the placement wasn't as extreme as normal for her?
SIMONA HALEP: I didn't change something in my position on the return. I went a little bit back, that's for sure. I trained a lot yesterday. I did about 30 minutes only returning. Not practicing that much. I knew it was really important to return.
Yeah, I felt like I knew where she was serving. Even if she serve strong, I return the ball. I knew that if I put the return back, I have a better chance. I did that. I was focusing on that, and on my serve as well.
Q. Ilie Nastase lost 7-5 in the fifth in 1972 to Stan Smith. You are the first Romanian to win here. You said you don't know what will happen in Romania. Is Wimbledon special in Romania, even more than Roland Garros where Ruzici already did well? What Ion Tiriac has been doing for you in these past years?
SIMONA HALEP: French Open is better known because another two players won it from Romania. It's clay. We grow up on clay. We are more familiar to Roland Garros.
But Wimbledon, I think it's very special for every country. Here the tennis was born, let's say. It's all the rules, very prestigious tournament, makes it a little bit different and more special.
Thinking that is a possibility to win on grass, it was tough to believe because we don't even have a court, grass court, in Romania. That's something far.
But I knew if we be patient and if we work hard, we get the feeling of the grass court. So I did this year and I did it pretty well.
Mr. Tiriac is helping me since 2014 when I first talked to him. He called me after that Madrid final when I lost against Sharapova. He was not very happy. But he told me that I have a good future. If I work hard and I'm a professional, I have very big chances to win Grand Slams.
Here he came this morning and told me that even if you lose or win, doesn't matter. Is the biggest day, so go for it, and I did it. He was very happy after. He gave me a hug, which doesn't happen really (smiling).
Q. You said you had positive emotion and you tried to control the emotion. What was this controlling? What was the positive emotion? What were you saying to yourself?
SIMONA HALEP: Yeah, I always say that I have my chance. When I believe that, when I start to believe that, when I hear my voice saying that I have a chance, then I go for it without thinking the negative.
I do that also in normal life. When I really believe something, I repeat: I'm able to do. Today I did the same thing the whole match. I didn't think about the score. I just said, Here is my chance and I have to take it.
Q. In previous interviews you mentioned you didn't want to put pressure on yourself. You have been a finalist and you have won a slam. How do those two experiences prepare you for today?
SIMONA HALEP: The finals I lost in the past helped me for sure to be different when I face this moment. It's never easy to face a Grand Slam final. You can get intimidated by the moment. You can get nervous, too nervous.
I have learned that it's a normal match, not thinking that much about the trophy, just going there and try to be the best as you can. So I did that. I said that every time I would play a final of Grand Slam, I will do exactly the same thing. So today I did it.
Q. Some players when they win their first slam worry if they're ever going to win another one, while some feel it unlocks something in them and they can win more. After you won your first slam, what was your mindset like?
SIMONA HALEP: I have to admit I believed more that I'm able to win another one. Once you win one you have the feeling you know how it is. You treat it a little bit easier, let's say. It's never easy, but you treat it a little bit easier.
Yeah, I was motivated after I won the first one that there is another chance for one more.
Q. You seem very excited about your lifetime membership at this club. Is it the gym membership or the snack bar or you just want to come here and chill?
SIMONA HALEP: Yes. Without pressure, without thinking I have a match tomorrow. I met Philip. He told me, Any time you want, you can come, have dinner, have lunch, playing a little bit tennis. I will come for sure (laughter).
Q. Serena said it would be great if you can reach this level consistently.
SIMONA HALEP: I think so (smiling).
Q. Is this just an extraordinary performance today?
SIMONA HALEP: I hope not. I hope it's going to be again. It's not the only one match I played great. In my opinion, I played many great matches, even if I lost few of them.
I feel that I'm at the highest level, for sure. But I'm feeling also that I can improve some things, not about today's match. But this tournament, I feel like I have to improve other things. I will keep working for that.
I'm still motivated. I'm looking forward already to the next tournaments and next challenges that I have.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports