In February 2020, Cristian Garin was on a nine-match winning streak. This streak, spanning two weeks, saw him capture two of the four titles he currently has, in Cordoba and Rio de Janeiro. Subsequent to this showing that same month, he also broke into the top-20 of the ATP singles rankings, in the 18th spot of the rankings.
But before Garin could build upon this momentum of his, the tennis tour was stopped in March due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Now, five months later, as the tour tries to go back to its usual pace, the 24-year-old Chilean is also trying to get back to the highs he had before the five-month suspension.
Cristian Garin: Seeking past highs, and more
In making a return, however, Garin has been forced to play catch-up after having suffered upsets in the first three events since the tour started over. He exited early in both events he played in New York.
He lost in the first round of the Western and Southern Open to Aljaz Bedene while in the US Open, he did one round better before losing to Mikhail Kukushkin in a five-setter. Then, playing his first tournament of the clay season at the Italian Open in Rome, Garin was upset in the opening round by Borna Coric.
Playing his last tune-up at the Hamburg European Open before the French Open this week, the world no. 22 has won two back-to-back matches for the first time this year since the Rio Open. After having put up a dominant showing against Kei Nishikori in the first round which he won 6-0, 6-3, Garin won his next match against Yannick Hanfmann 6-2, 7-6(3) to reach the quarter-finals.
After his win against Nishikori, responding to TennisWorld USA’s question about his mentality when the tour had to be stopped, Garin said, “Yes, the truth is that the tour was suspended at the best moment of my career”.
He, then, pointed out that everything was decided and it was quite clear, too. But in what seemed like the very "other day", the tour was suspended. “Five-six months without playing, two months without picking up the racquet,” he added, “I believe that it was very tough at the moment.
Now, I believe it has cost me to return (to the tour) feeling competitive with my habitual rhythm. But one has to adapt (to the conditions)”. It was, however, Cristian Garin’s final statement that indicated what he was trying to do this week and of what he has done up to now.
“This is the time to play, try and win,” he said and so far, he has been able to fulfil all three of these objectives. Image Credit: ATP Tour Twitter