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:
‘My game fell apart’ – Novak Djokovic despondent after Olympics defeat
Djokovic admitted he “felt terrible” as his dreams of an Olympic goal medal went up in smoke.
Cameron Norrie’s impressive year continues with a win against Nick Kyrgios
The Briton needed less than a hour to dispatch his Australian opponent with a clinical 6-1 6-4 win.
Novak Djokovic’s golden Grand Slam dream ends in shuddering fashion at the Olympics
Novak Djokovic’s dreams of a Golden Slam are over after a defeat by Alexander Zverev.
WATCH: King Richard trailer starring Will Smith as Serena Williams says ‘this should be good’
Nearly time to grab the popcorn for King Richard.
Novak Djokovic closing in on gold at Tokyo Olympics as he admits his ‘level of tennis is getting better and better’
“Best performance of the tournament,” says Djokovic.
Marketa Vondrousova’s dream turns into a reality as she stuns Elina Svitolina to reach final at Olympics
Marketa Vondrousova assured of a medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
‘To have the medal for me is the greatest thing,’ says Belinda Bencic after reaching Olympic singles final
Already assured of one Olympic medal, Belinda Bencic gunning for a second.
‘Pressure is a privilege,’ says Novak Djokovic as he explains why the noise ‘won’t wear me down’
“Without pressure there is no professional sport,” says Novak Djokovic.
Fabio Fognini apologies for shouting homophobic slur during Olympics defeat, says ‘heat went to my head’
“I apologise for the nonsense that came out of me,” wrote Fabio Fognini.
Andy Murray’s emotional message as his Olympic dream dies – now what happens next?
“I feel crushed after today’s loss. Sport can be brutal,” wrote Andy Murray.