Simona Halep in a happy place ahead of French Open title defence
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.”
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.”
More from Tennis365:
Former British No.1 says Andy Murray is on track despite defeat against Alexander Zverev
Andy Murray was left to lament missed chances, as he went down to a 6-4, 7-6 defeat against Alexander Zverev
Agonising defeat for Leylah Fernandez as she crashes out at Indian Wells
Fernandez’s hopes of banishing her US Open final defeat with a win at Indian Wells ended as she was beaten by Rogers.
Emma Raducanu set to play a key role in deciding how cash will be spent to help women’s tennis
Raducanu is set to be handed a chance to have direct input into how money from Amazon Prime Video is used.
Preview: Conditions could help Andy Murray upset Alexander Zverev at Indian Wells
Andy Murray attempts to continue his fine…
Andy Murray confident ‘unbelievably bright’ Emma Raducanu will deal with her ‘little bump’ in a mature way
Andy Murray has his say on Emma Raducanu’s hiccup in Indian Wells.
Cameron Norrie holds off Roberto Bautista Agut in Indian Wells to reach last 16 of Masters event for first time
British No 2 will next meet American Tommy Paul.
Novak Djokovic and co urged to get vaccinated if they want to compete at the Australian Open
“If I was an ATP or WTA player, I’d be getting vaccinated.”
Top seed Karolina Pliskova, defending champ Bianca Andreescu and Coco Gauff all crash out
Three big names taste defeat in Indian Wells.
‘I can’t wait to go and play in the championship,’ says Emma Raducanu after signing up for lucrative event
Emma Raducanu off to Abu Dhabi just before Christmas.
Andy Murray ahead of Alexander Zverev clash in Indian Wells: ‘I wouldn’t say we are best friends’
Alexander Zverev unlikely to be on Andy Murray’s Christmas card list.