Simona Halep in a happy place ahead of French Open title defence

Simona Halep with Roland Garros trophy PA

Simona Halep says she is excited to be back in Paris as she prepares to launch her campaign to retain the French Open title.

Halep is the favourite to successfully defend the title, and doing so would make her just the fourth woman to achieve it at Roland Garros.

And, speaking to the media ahead of the tournament, Halap seemed genuinely enthused about getting underway.

“It’s great to be back, and I’m happy,” Halep told reporters. “I’m healthy, and everything is fine.

“I’m happy to be back here, and I’m trying to enjoy, because it’s a beautiful tournament and very special for me.”

“I fought hard [to win Roland Garros], and I had many tough moments before lifting that trophy, but I’m still motivated because my career doesn’t stay in a Grand Slam or ranking.

“I play tennis because I love playing tennis, and I’m here because I love the life of an athlete. I like to make friends. I like to spend the time with people, and now I see the things different. So I discover different life on tour.

“So I will try to do the things as a kid, enjoying the time. I wanted this badly, and I wanted so much that now having it, I just want to be happy and to smile.

“Yesterday when I had the chance to touch the trophy again, I wanted to take it home.”

Simona Halep French Open

Halep has never defended a Grand Slam title before, but she denies that adds any pressure.

“Mentally, I am pretty relaxed,” Halep added. “I know it’s a little bit of pressure there, because I’m a defending champion, but it’s first time when it happens.

“Yeah, much better and much easier, because I have the title already. Doesn’t matter anymore what is going to happen. Everything comes now comes as a bonus.

“So I just want to take the positive, and to be in this position I think is the best thing.

“So I won’t complain about it. I just try to play every match here, and I try to get ready as much as possible until I have to start.”

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