Simona Halep's coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, has apologised after she suffered a shock defeat in the second round at Roland-Garros.
Halep was praised for being “brave and honest” after revealing she had a panic attack during her French Open defeat on Thursday. The Romanian called for the trainer and had her pulse and blood pressure taken during her 2-6 6-2 6-1 loss to Chinese teenager Qinwen Zheng in Paris.
Although she was given the all-clear to play on, she continued to have trouble with her breathing and the trainer came out for a second time.
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“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 it 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.”
Mouratoglou, who has been working with Halep since the start of her preparations for Roland-Garros, posted an apology for her early exit in Paris on social media.
"I’ve always been proud of my successes with my players, but then I also have to acknowledge when I’m not doing a good enough job," Mouratoglou wrote in the post.
"The results we’ve had the past month in Madrid, Rome and Roland-Garros are insufficient for someone of Simona Halep's calibre and I take full responsibility for them.
"She is fully dedicated, motivated, gives it everything on every ball. She is a champion - her track record speaks for itself. I expect much better from myself and I want to extend my apologies to her fans who have always been so supportive."
Halep added in a comment on the post: "As the picture shows, a team is made with at least two people. We gave our best every day but we were not good enough, yet! I am ready for more, Patrick Mouratoglou."
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Eurosport experts Tim Henman and Mats Wilander saluted Halep for being so open about her panic attack.
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“First and foremost, we don’t want it to happen, it’s very unfortunate that it does happen,” said Henman.
“Again, I think it is so brave and so honest for Simona to come in and talk about what happened to her because I feel that can really have a positive impact on others, that if they are struggling with a mental health issue that they have the bravery to speak about it and go and get help.
“Simona has been around for many years, she has won big titles so it just goes to show that it can happen to anyone. I thought it was amazing, really classy, after a really difficult defeat under difficult circumstances to come out and speak.”
Halep won the title at Roland-Garros in 2018 and her defeat to Zheng marked her earliest exit at the tournament since 2015.
Wilander added: “It was very scary times for her. You don’t know what’s going on. It was a good move by her to come out and explain what happened, ‘I am smiling and I am ready to keep on going’.
“So this is a brilliant PR move as well to show her opponents that this is something she had never experienced before.”
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