By Erik Gudris | @atntennis | Friday, May 26, 2023
There is always a mix of fun and pressure for players competing in their country’s Major to perform well in front of their local fans.
This is especially true at Roland Garros, where the Parisian crowd can either be a player’s biggest supporter or his biggest critic.
Seed No. 4 Carolina Garcia she finds herself in new territory in Paris this year as the top seed and only French singles player in the men’s and women’s draws.
Given the fact that French singles champions made very few appearances at the event (Mary Pierce was the last French singles champion in 2000), could Garcia lift the trophy for her first ever Grand Slam singles title ?
It’s something she’s surely dreamed of since she was a child.
“It’s hard to remember exactly when it was but I definitely remember coming home from school when I was under 10 so yeah when you go back to school it’s like a snack and you were always before I watched Roland Garros on TV and it was routine every day and weekend final,” Garcia said at the pre-tournament press conference. “You know, it was always special to see a champion lift this trophy and they were touched and I was touched in front of the TV (smile).
“So yeah, it’s good memories and maybe one day I’ll be there.”
🎙️😁 Caroline Garcia appeared before the press this Friday at Media Day
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) May 26, 2023
While Garcia won the women’s doubles title in Paris twice, including last year, expectations for her strong singles performance this year increased exponentially after her breakthrough 2022 season. This included winning Cincinnati all the way from qualifying, reaching US Open semi-finals, followed by a win in the WTA Finals at the end of the year that propelled her back to the top level of the sport.
So far, the 2023 season has been a period of ups and downs for Garcia. Although she reached two finals in Monterrey and Lyon, she didn’t make much noise at the bigger events.
Garcia realizes that it will be difficult to repeat all of her success from last year. After admitting earlier in the year in Australia that she put too much pressure on herself, she now says she trusts the process.
“Yes, I mean, this is sport, this is tennis. Of course, it’s not easy to copy and paste what has happened over the last few months,” Garcia said. “But that’s also part of it, and last year allowed me to do some great things at the end of the year. starting very low.
“So I try to be patient, have a good attitude, work hard and be positive, as positive as I can. Yes, learn from what I can.”
Garcia faces a tough opening round against the Chinese Wang Xiyu who recently reached the 1/8 finals in Rome. Garcia has never played a rising Chinese star, but he’s up for the challenge.
“Yes, I don’t think I’ve ever played against her. I didn’t remember the juniors or anything like that,” Garcia said of the matchup. She then added: “I think she played a good tournament in Rome. So she’s definitely confident. But I will try to play my game, be aggressive and adapt a bit if necessary.
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