Halep unfazed by pressure of defending French Open title

Simona Halep insists that she feels no additional pressure at this year's French Open despite being the reigning champion.

The third seed started the defence of her title on Tuesday with a 6-2 3-6 6-1 triumph over Ajla Tomljanovic.

Halep conceded that she still had nerves before the game but is confident that she will be able to manage the pressure that comes with being the defending champion.

"I had different nerves, for sure, because it's the first time in this position as the defending champion," she told a media conference.

"But it's a nice feeling, so I can't complain. It's nice to be in this position. I don't put pressure on myself.

"Of course, I feel the pressure because I have also expectations for myself. I always play well here, so I want also this year to be the same. But I'm not going to put pressure on myself for the result. I don't know what is going to be.

"I have just to take the next round seriously and then if I can go through, I will think about the third round. But for the moment, I just want to enjoy today's victory."

Halep believes she has improved since last year's victory at Roland Garros and says the key this time around will be to focus on herself and not what others are doing.

"I need to be calm," she added. "I need to be really focused on my game and not thinking about opponents and not thinking about the result.

"I feel like I have improved a lot in this year since I won here. I'm a different person. I'm a better person. Whatever comes now is a bonus so I'm trying just to give my best every time I step on the court."

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