Halep doesn’t panic as the former champion tries to win back the title

Simona Halep is confident she would know how to handle a panic attack at Wimbledon after her recent traumatic experience at Roland Garros.

The former world number one is set for her first return to action at the All England Club since claiming the 2019 title, having missed last year due to a calf injury.

With the 2020 championships canceled due to the pandemic, it’s been a three-year wait for Halep to make another appearance at SW19, and a lot has changed in her life since then.

She got married last year and has a high-profile new coach in Patrick Mouratoglou, who helped guide Serena Williams’ career for nearly a decade.

Last month, Halep suffered an on-court panic attack during a shock second-round loss to Zheng Qinwen at the French Open, and was quick to discuss the episode immediately after the match, deciding it would be an important step for her. go ahead. .

“I hope it doesn’t happen again because I didn’t like it,” Halep told a news conference on Sunday, a day before the start of Wimbledon.

“It was coming out of nowhere because I was leading the match. Probably just the pressure of the tournament, the fact that I struggled last year. I didn’t think I was strong enough, probably.”

“But now I feel stronger and I feel like if it happens again, I’ll know how to handle it.

“It’s never easy. It was really hard to handle. But everybody goes through this lately, with the whole situation in the world. I won’t be hard on myself for being weak in that game.”

“I just take it as an experience and as a lesson, so next time I’ll be better.”

Halep has a tough Wimbledon debut against Karolina Muchova, an unseeded player who reached the quarterfinals in the last two editions of the tournament.

That game will take place on Tuesday, but he will not open the game on center court.

That’s usually the honor bestowed on the defending champion, but Ash Barty has retired since beating Karolina Pliskova in the final last year.

Some felt that Halep, who missed out last year when she would have returned to defend the title, should have been given the opening spot this year; however, Wimbledon announced that the privilege will go to the number one in the world, Iga Swiatek.

“I feel sad because I missed it because I was injured and I didn’t get a chance,” Halep said. “Hopefully I can get another chance, so I can look forward to that.”

She will need to win another Wimbledon title for that to happen and she will hope the link with Mouratoglou will help her achieve that ambition.

Mouratoglou said in an Instagram post that Halep’s results in the clay court season were “insufficient” for a player of her quality and said she would “take full responsibility” for them.

“I was shocked, shocked that he made the post and took it all down,” Halep said. “But it wasn’t his fault, it was me; I couldn’t do better and calm down when I panicked. It was also new to me and I wasn’t good enough. We’re much better after that day.” .

“We both probably learned a few things from each other, and we’ll handle situations like that better now.”

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