“I started seeing tennis from a different point of view and it's working much better because I don't get as stressed anymore,” she said. “I don't get excited anymore, I enjoy the battles. I actually want the matches to be tough ones, I want to show myself that I am strong.”
Cirstea was still a teenager when she pushed through to the quarter-finals at Roland-Garros in 2009. It was an epic moment that remains her best Grand Slam performance. But the Romanian has connected with Roland-Garros on many levels across her 13 appearances on the terre battue.
“I felt always Roland-Garros was special,” she said. “I have had a few third rounds where unfortunately I lost to the champion. I think one time to Serena, one time to Li Na. So it was more than that quarter-final for me when I think about Roland-Garros."
A lot of time has passed since, but Cirstea, with a renewed sense of purpose and joie de vivre, is eager to press forward and make new Paris memories.