By Erik Gudris | @atntennis | Friday, May 26, 2023
For players competing in their countries’ Major, there’s always a mixture of pleasure and pressure to perform well in front of the home fans.
That’s especially true at Roland Garros where the Parisian crowd can either be a player’s biggest cheerleader or their biggest critic.
No. 4 seed Caroline Garcia finds herself in new territory this year in Paris as the highest and only seeded French singles player on either the men’s or women’s draws.
With French singles champions at the event few and far between (Mary Pierce was the last French singles champion in 2000), could Garcia be the one to raise the trophy for her first-ever Grand Slam singles title?
It’s something she’s certainly dreamed about ever since she was a kid.
“It’s hard to exactly remember when it was, but I definitely remember coming back from school when I was less than 10, and so yeah, when you’re coming back to school it’s like kind of snack time and you were always in front of the TV watching Roland Garros, and it was a routine of every day, and weekend final,” Garcia said in a pre-tournament press conference. “It was always special, you know, to see the champion lifting that trophy, and they were getting emotional, and I was getting emotional in front of my TV (smiling).
“So, yeah, it’s good memories and maybe one day I will be there.”
🎙️😁 Caroline Garcia était devant la presse ce vendredi pour le Media Day
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) May 26, 2023
While Garcia has won the women’s doubles title in Paris twice, including last year, expectations for her to do well this year in singles have increased exponentially after her breakout 2022 season. That included reaching winning Cincinnati all the way from qualifying, reaching the US Open semifinals and then culminating in her winning the year-end WTA Finals that boosted her back into the top tier of the sport.
So far 2023 has been an up-and-down season for Garcia. Though she’s reached two finals in Monterrey and Lyon, she hasn’t made much noise at the bigger events.
Garcia realizes that it will be hard to replicate all her success last year. After admitting earlier in the year in Australia that she was placing too much pressure on herself, she says now she trusts the process.
“Yeah, I mean, it’s sport, it’s tennis. Obviously it’s not easy to do a copy-paste of what is happening in the couple months before,” Garcia said. “But it is also part of it, and last year made me able to do some great things at the end of the year, starting very low.
“So I’m just trying to be patient, having a good mindset and work hard and being positive, as positive as I can. Yeah, learn from what I can.”
Garcia faces a tricky opening round against China’s Wang Xiyu who recently the round of 16 in Rome. Garcia has never played the rising Chinese star but is ready for the challenge.
“Yeah, I never played against her, I believe. I didn’t remember juniors or something maybe,” Garcia said about the matchup. She then added, “She played a good tournament I think in Rome. So she’s definitely confident. But I will try to play my game, be aggressive, and adjust a little bit if necessary.”
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