Simona Halep has admitted to having a panic attack during her second-round loss to Qinwen Zheng at the French Open.

The No. 19 seed appeared to be on track for a straightforward victory after claiming the first set and jumping a break ahead in the second.

But Zheng fought back and began to dominate the back of the court exchanges.

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Zheng took charge after winning the second set, and Halep summoned the trainer and had her pulse and blood pressure measured at 0-3 in the third set.

She was given the go-ahead to continue, but she never seemed at ease and had difficulty breathing.

The trainer returned for a second time, but Halep did not improve, and Zheng went on to win 2-6 6-2 6-1.

Halep quickly left the court and spent time with medical personnel before returning to face the media, where she admitted to a panic attack.

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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,” Halep declared.

“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,” she said.

“I couldn’t focus.”

Halep has been cleared by medical personnel and did not find signs of any physical ailment.

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“After the match was pretty tough,” Halep said. “But now I’m good. I’m recovered, and I will learn from this episode. Nothing like dangerous, in my opinion, but it happened. So it’s good that now I can smile.”

Halep, who recently began working with coach Patrick Mouratoglou, stated that she will need to remain calm on the court.

“It’s just a tennis match, so I have to see it a little bit more relaxed,” remarked the two-time major champion. “Probably put pressure on myself too much, because I really wanted to do well.”

“I felt good. I practice. I work hard. But just didn’t happen, and probably I got a little bit of panic during that thinking, over-thinking. But I was leading, so there is no reason, in particular, why it happened. But it happened,” Halep added.

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“So I have to accept it. 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. I knew that I have just to calm down, because the doctors checked everything. Everything was perfect. Not really a reason, just mind.”

“Now I’m super good,” she assured.

Halep accompanied Barbara Schett and Tim Henman in the Eurosport Cube and stated that she will use her panic attack to learn from.

“It was tough to breathe,” Halep said, adding. “It was new and I did not know how to handle it. It was a difficult moment. I broke down a little bit as my brain was not very strong, but now I am good.”

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“Patrick asked me where do I play next week so it looks like I am back at work.” she said, adding that she is now focused on the rest of the season. “I don’t know where I will be playing next, but for sure tomorrow I will be back to business.”

Henman hopes Halep’s decision to be upfront about her problems will inspire others to do the same.

“We don’t want it to happen, it is unfortunate, but it is so brave and honest to come in and talk about what happened to her,” Henman stated. “I think it can have a positive impact on others if they are struggling with whatever mental health issue they have, that they have the bravery so speak out and go and get help.

“She has been around many years, has won big titles, so it shows it can happen to anyone. I thought it was amazing, honest and very classy to come out and speak,” Henman added.