'I give myself a 9.5' - Halep thrilled with Comaneci support


SimonaHalep spoke of her pride at receiving the Madrid Open title from Romanian hero and gymnastics legend Nadia Comaneci before rating her performance in the Spanish capital this week as a 9.5.

Comaneci made history at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal by becoming the first gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of 10, and she was in attendance to witness her compatriot defeat DominikaCibulkova 6-2 6-4 to win her second WTA Premier Mandatory title on Saturday.

Halep, a runner-up at the clay-court event in 2014, was in scintillating form in Madrid and is thrilled with the support she received from her fellow Romanians, including Comaneci.

"You know, it's a special feeling that many Romanians are coming to support me. I see many flags in the crowd. So, yeah, it means a lot," she told a news conference.

"Actually it was a great moment that I got the trophy from Nadia. Perfect 10 means a lot. This week I give to myself 9.5, so not yet 10.

"I didn't expect actually before coming here that I'm going to win this title. But after first week when I practiced with [coach] Darren [Cahill] every day like I said, many hours on court, I felt that I have my chance."

At world number 38, Cibulkova became the lowest ranked player to reach a Premier Mandatory final, but Halep is unsurprised by her opponent's success.

"It's normal that the players that are ranked about 20, 30 want to beat the top 10 players. It's normal," she added. 

"I was in that position and I know the feeling. But still, now I'm used to it. I don't care about who I play. I'm not thinking about the ranking anymore."