At Roland Garros,
The more the years pass, the more Roland-Garros seems to refuse Caroline Garcia. Whether she arrives at Porte d’Auteuil with an unflattering ranking (71st at the WTA last year) or with the status of seeded number 5, the Lyonnaise has always disappointed here since her refreshing quarter-final in 2017. After her laborious success (7-6, 4-6, 6-4) snatched against the Chinese Xiyu Wang (64th in the world) on Monday, she nevertheless started her second round well against Anna Blinkova (6-4, 1-0). But after this break at the start of the second set, lights out, and defeat (6-4, 3-6, 5-7).
“From that moment, things got a little jammed, seized up, regrets the defending champion of the last Masters. I got very tense. As much in the first set, I really went all out in my shots and in my game choices, with a ball that was going fast and hurt, so I then started to be passive, to no longer go for points and to let him lead the game. I had a hard time getting out of that moment. A question therefore legitimately arises: why, why, why?
“Sometimes I don’t dare go”
Caroline Garcia had the score for her, the momentum for her, the public for her, all against the 56th player in the world, but it therefore only took a grain of sand to (again) falter her start of adventure at Roland -Garros. With no less than 50 unforced errors (against 35 in the first round), or 20 more than her opponent of the day, she entered a new scuttling operation, forcing her blows and seeming to refuse long exchanges, and this while she won 33 “marathons” out of 57 on Wednesday. As if she was still suffering from a gambling identity crisis, at 29 years old.
No, I know very well what I have to do, insists the person concerned. It’s a dilemma I shouldn’t even have. I love this risky game and I no longer need proof after last season… There are faults and winners [50 vs 54], but this game produces so many things. I live it thoroughly. But sometimes on the court, I don’t dare to go there, follow the net, hit the ball, and that plays tricks on me. I start to have a little fear of missing playing this aggressive game. My strikes fly away or are too short. My biggest regret is not going all out in my style of play, it’s hard to digest. »
“A bit in on and off mode”
So much so that the Lyonnaise appeared very dejected on her bench, at certain times of the decisive third round. When she appeared before the media at the end of the afternoon, she preferred to put this umpteenth hiccup into perspective, whether for this season or for her history at Roland-Garros.
“I am human and there are things that happen in my heart, in my head, she confides. I try to manage everything at the same time. Today, it was not up to par, like in recent weeks. I was a little in on and off mode for this match and I am obviously very disappointed to lose so early at Roland-Garros. But mentally I’ll get over it. I’ve already recovered from twelve eliminations here. All with a forced smile. So that’s the habit of missed appointments.