Iga Swaitek blamed the stress of the moment and a physical swoon for her loss as defending champion at the French Open on Wednesday.
The pole who lifted Grand Slam honours here last October as a teenager, went down with a heavy thigh strapping to Maria Sakkari 6-4, 6-4 in a quarter-final loss.
The thoughtful Swiatek, who works regularly with a female sports psychologist, said that pressures all came to the fore at once to end her title defence early.
“The past few weeks hit me yesterday,”: she said, “I just didn’t have good days, I couldn’t do physical recovery well because I was stressed.
“Days like that happen, and it’s normal.”
She added: “When I close my eyes, I only see tennis court and balls, so it’s pretty tiring.”
Swiatek said her thigh injury had been giving her troubles earlier.
“I only slept like few hours, I was feeling everything twice as much as I should. It was hard rationally to just see what’s going on.
“I made the decision to tape it just to feel sure, that gave me a little bit more confidence when I was moving. I didn’t play well, tactically and technically. I was on my heels.”
Her challenge will be to regroup with the brief grass campaign starting almost immediately and Wimbledon’s start barely a fortnight away.
“I’m having a pretty intense season. I played more than in my previous seasons.
“I’m happy with the results but also I’m constantly at work. For sure we’re going to try to chill down, chill out a little bit, cool down, find some perspective.”