Caroline Garcia, 28, admitted she felt pressure to start making strong results shortly after her 2011 match versus Maria Sharapova. In 2011, a 17-year-old Garcia was awarded a main draw wildcard into the French Open. After beating Zuzana Ondraskova in the first round, Garcia took on former five-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova.
Garcia got off to a stunning start versus Sharapova as she led 6-3 4-1 before the Russian stormed back to win 3-6 6-4 6-0. Garcia drew attention to herself with that performance as three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray tipped her to become the top-ranked player in the future.
Garcia heard all the talk and that put pressure on her to go out and start making strong results when her game wasn’t really ready for that.
Garcia on the pressure she faced after the Sharapova match
“Yeah, it was definitely a challenge.
When it was 2011 after the Sharapova match, it was a lot of pressure coming from actually nowhere. I was 150, 200 in the world, 17 years old. My game was not ready. I was not able to play that consistent, this kind of level. The weeks after I went back trying to play the same level, but it was not possible for me,” Garcia said.
“It was tough because people were expecting a lot. But the game, I was not ready for anything of that. It took me some time to come step by step to the top. End of 2017, 2018 was great year, a lot of success. Yeah, I made some mistake.
We made some mistake. I really hope and I think we learn from it.” Garcia, who reached a career-high ranking of No. 4 in 2018, is now seemingly playing the tennis of her life. On Tuesday, Garcia defeated Cori Gauff to reach her first Grand Slam semifinal at the US Open.
After struggling with her game for a couple of years, Garcia rediscovered her game this summer as she is now two wins away from winning her fourth title this summer. Garcia plays Ons Jabeur in the US Open semifinal.