Simona Halep has said she suffered a panic attack during her defeat to Qinwen Zheng in the second round of the French Open.

The No. 19 seed looked on course for a routine win when taking the opening set and moving a break to the good in the second.

But Zheng broke back and began to dominate the exchanges from the back of the court.


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After taking the second, Zheng assumed control and at 0-3 in the third set, Halep called the trainer and had her pulse and blood pressure taken.

She was given the all clear to continue, but never looked comfortable and had trouble with her breathing.

The trainer came out for a second time, but Halep did not improve and Zheng went on to close out a 2-6 6-2 6-1 win.

Halep left the court immediately and spent time with the medical staff before returning to face the media, where she confirmed a panic attack.

“I was playing well at the start,” Halep said. “I had a break in the second set, but then something happened. I just lost it.

“I didn't expect because it was just a panic attack.

“I didn't know how to handle it, because I don't have it often. Yeah, I don't really know why it happened, because I was leading the match. I was playing well. But just happened, and as I said, I lost it.

"I couldn't focus.”

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Halep was cleared by the medical staff and does not feel it is a physical ailment.

“After the match was pretty tough,” Halep said. “But now I'm good. I'm recovered, and I will learn from this episode. Nothing like dangerous, in my opinion, but it happened. So it's good that now I can smile.”

Halep, who recently started work with coach Patrick Mouratoglou, said she will need to stay relaxed on court.

“It's just a tennis match, so I have to see it a little bit more relaxed,” the two-time major winner said. “Probably put pressure on myself too much, because I really wanted to do well.

“I felt good. I practice. I work hard. But just didn't happen, and probably I got a little bit of panic during that thinking, over-thinking. But I was leading, so there is no reason, in particular, why it happened. But it happened.

“So I have to accept it. It's something normal that everybody has. I will be better next time, for sure. I don't have these things so it was new for me.

“I knew that I have just to calm down, because the doctors checked everything. Everything was perfect. Not really a reason, just mind.

"Now I'm super good.”

'It was tough to breathe' - Halep discusses on-court panic attack

Halep joined Barbara Schett and Tim Henman in the Eurosport Cube and said she will look to learn from her panic attack.

“It was tough to breathe,” Halep said. “It was new and I did not know how to handle it. It was a difficult moment.

“I broke down a little bit as my brain was not very strong, but now I am good.”

She is now focused on the remainder of the season, as she added: “Patrick asked my where do I play next week so it looks like I am back at work.

“I don’t know where I will be playing next, but for sure tomorrow I will be back to business.”

Henman full of praise for 'brave and honest' Halep

Henman is hopeful that Halep’s decision to be so honest will encourage others to be open about any troubles they have.

“We don’t want it to happen, it is unfortunate, but it is so brave and honest to come in and talk about what happened to her,” Henman said. “I think it can have a positive impact on others if they are struggling with whatever mental health issue they have, that they have the bravery so speak out and go and get help.

“She has been around many years, has won big titles, so it shows it can happen to anyone.

“I thought it was amazing, honest and very classy to come out and speak.”

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