Halep relaxed ahead of French Open title defence

French Open 2018 champion Simona Halep, who is yet to win a tournament this year, is relaxed ahead of defending her title at Roland Garros.

Simona Halep defeated Sloane Stephens to clinch the 2018 French Open   -  Getty Images

Simona Halep is relaxed heading into the defence of her French Open title, insisting she feels less pressure than when she was chasing a first grand slam crown.

World number three Halep heads into the second major of the season without a tournament win in 2019, having lost in the final of the Qatar Open and Madrid Open.

A disappointing performance in Rome followed, but Halep - who secured her maiden grand slam trophy in Paris 12 months ago - is confident in her form on clay.

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"I feel good. I have practised a lot and with many players," Halep said. "Mentally, I am pretty relaxed. I know there is a little bit of pressure there, because I'm defending champion, but it's the first time it has happened.

"It [the pressure] is much easier because I have the title already. It doesn't matter anymore what is going to happen.

"Everything now comes as a bonus. I will try just to give my best and to see if I'm able to do it again."

Halep, however, insists that her relaxed approach does not mean she is lacking motivation to retain her crown.

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"I fought hard [last year], 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," Halep added.

"I play tennis because I love playing tennis, and I'm here because I love the life of an athlete. I have confidence. I feel good, but you never know in tennis. I will take it day by day."

Halep starts her title defence against Ajla Tomljanovic.

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