PARIS — Two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep said she had a panic attack while leading her second-round match that she eventually lost at the French Open on Thursday.
The 2018 Roland Garros winner said she “lost it” and couldn’t regain focus while playing 19-year-old Qinwen Zheng, who won, 2-6, 6-2, 6-1, at Court Simonne-Mathieu.
“I had a break in the second set, but then something happened. I just lost it,’’ the 30-year-old Romanian said in her post-match press conference. “It was just a panic attack. It happened. I didn’t know how to handle it because I don’t have it often.”
Halep, the 2019 Wimbledon champion, had already amassed 20 wins this season and had beaten 74th-ranked Zheng in January.
Halep said she likely put too much pressure on herself.
“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,’’ she said.
Halep said she was assured by doctors that she’s OK physically.
“After the match was pretty tough. But now, I’m good. I’m recovered, and I will learn from this episode.”