Halep shrugs off maiden Grand Slam title talk

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Paris, May 25 (IANS) Top-ranked Simona Halep is reluctant to talk about her first Grand Slam tournament title chase and says she is focused on her opening match at Roland Garros.

“It’s not that difficult to do that (stay focused). Every match is going to be very tough. It’s a Grand Slam. Everyone is at the highest level here,” said the women’s singles world No. 1 at a press conference here on Friday, reported Xinhua news agency.

“I’m not thinking about the title, because it’s really far. I’m just thinking of my first match. It’s going to be a tough one, but I have my chance,” she added.

Halep let the French Open title slip away to Latvian underdog Jelena Ostapenko last year despite a 6-4, 3-0 lead in the final.

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Coming into the tournament again this year, Halep admitted that she has more pressure of defending points, while feeling more confident at the same time after seeing a great result last year.

She won two previous head-to-head matches with her first round opponent Alison Riske of the US.

“She is a fighter, so she will not give up at all. I have just to be the same and stay focused for every ball.

“I expect it to be a tough one, because in the first round of the tournament, it’s normal to be a little bit nervous, but I know I have my chance, and for sure I will fight for it,” commented Halep.

About Serena Williams’ return to major tournaments after giving birth to a daughter last year, she says that it is great for tennis, adding that the 23-time Grand Slam singles winner maybe needs a little bit more time to get used to the tournaments again and playing every day.

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“I said it many times, she’s able to come back and to win tournaments again. She knows how to handle the pressure and all situations. She’s there for so many years.

“She will come back, and she will be good again,” said Halep.

–IANS

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