Caroline Garcia sounds off on comment from critics that 'gets on my nerves'

Garcia reflects on her game-style after losing to Naomi Osaka in Doha.

by Dzevad Mesic
Caroline Garcia sounds off on comment from critics that 'gets on my nerves'
© Getty Images Sport - Cameron Spencer

Caroline Garcia admits that comments regarding her aggressive style "get on my nerves" and highlights that it is up to her to decide how to play and block out comments from outside. 

On Monday, former world No. 4 Garcia met four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka in a match that was considered a highlight matchup of first-round action in Dubai. To no one's surprise, big shots and great tennis were displayed but Garcia wasn't the one that ended on the winning side as Osaka gave the Frenchwoman a 7-5 6-4 loss. 

Although Garcia ended up losing in two sets, the outcome of the match could have easily been completely different had the former world No. 4 converted on her 5-3 lead in the first set. After Osaka served out the ninth game to reduce the deficit to 4-5, Garcia had a chance to serve out for the first set but her hand got tight and the Japanese earned her first break point chance - converted it - and tied the first set to five games. 

After not allowing Garcia to serve out for the first set, Osaka served out the 11th game for a 6-5 before breaking the Frenchwoman again in the 12th game to complete her steal of the opener. In her post-match press conference, Garcia suggested that she got "passive" in the 10th game and she clearly wasn't happy about it.

“Sometimes it plays tricks on me a bit, because I get a bit passive at 5-4,” Garcia said after the loss. “I’m a bit more into the stereotype of staying and playing cross-court, whereas I usually go for my points more by going along the line. It would be better to be more aggressive because in the other style of play I find it hard to impose myself on my opponents.”

Caroline Garcia
Caroline Garcia© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Garcia: When my aggressiveness works, it is fine - but, when not...

After winning her opening three matches of the season at the United Cup, Garcia has since had two wins and five defeats. Also, the loss to Osaka in Doha was Garcia's third consecutive 

Following her loss to Osaka, Garcia suggested that she plans to analyze the reasons behind her loss to the Japanese and try to learn from it. Also, Garcia admitted that she was probably "a little less aggressive" at times against Osaka and also suggested she would find it as "funny" if someone criticized her over that because usually she is criticized for being too aggressive. 

“Sometimes it’s good to refocus. I can see at 5-4 that I’m losing the game by being a little less intensive, a little less aggressive. It helps to see what’s working and what’s not. But it’s funny to have these questions because I’ve been criticized so much for being too aggressive,” Garcia said.

“When it works, everything’s fine, but when it doesn’t… Inevitably, when 99% of people say that to me, sometimes it has an impact on the way you see things when you start to fail a little. But it’s up to me and us to be clear about what works for me, and not listen to what people say because they don’t actually know you.”

Caroline Garcia
Caroline Garcia© Getty Images Sport - Brendon Thorne

Garcia: It is getting on my nerves

Considering that Garcia is 30, hearing criticism over her style of play is not anything new to the Frenchwoman. But after years of hearing such comments, she is fed up. 

“Yes, it’s getting on my nerves because it’s never good enough. You’re at the top, it’s not good enough: you have to do more. And when it doesn’t work, we’ve forgotten everything you’ve done for 15 years," Garcia said.

Caroline Garcia
Caroline Garcia© Getty Images Sport - Francois Nel

Garcia, who turned pro in 2011, is a veteran on the WTA Tour and she knows as well as anyone the demands of a tennis season and schedule. While Garcia admits she probably doesn't have the same energy she had at the start of her career, she now knows better how to balance everything properly. Also, Garcia underlined that her goals remain the same. 

"It’s always more, more and more, until you’re exhausted. I try to find a good balance. I can’t say I’ve got the same energy as when I arrived on the circuit, but I’ve got the same dreams as before. Sometimes it just feels good to see how to find a balance so that I’m really happy doing this and the journey is worth it," Garcia said.

After a strong start to her career, Garcia struggled for a couple of years before impressively winning four titles in the second part of 2022 and returning to the top-10 for the first time in a couple of years. After winning the 2022 WTA Finals and finishing the season inside the top-5, many believed that Garcia was ready to contend for Grand Slams in 2023 and maybe even attack the world No. 1 spot.

But after returning to being recognized as one of the best in the game, some of Garcia's old issues reappeared as the Frenchwoman hasn't won any titles since 2022 and she is now also ranked at No. 21. 

Meanwhile, Garcia is scheduled to play again at next week's WTA 1000 event in Dubai, where she will try to end her three-match losing streak and find some form and rhythm.

Caroline Garcia Naomi Osaka