Coach Patrick Mouratoglou thinks the enormous expectations and criticism directed at Caroline Garcia's game were the main reason why the Frenchwoman's progress was slowed down. At the 2011 French Open, a 17-year-old Garcia nearly pulled off a shock win over former five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova.
Back then, Garcia had a 6-3 4-1 lead before Sharapova stormed back to win in three sets. However, Garcia's performance versus Sharapova didn't go unnoticed as that was the moment when many tipped her to do major things at a very young age.
Garcia, who is now 29 and ranked at a career-high ranking of No 4, enjoyed her career-best results in the second part of this season as recently she captured her first WTA 1000 title, won a maiden WTA Finals title and also reached her first Grand Slam semifinal at the US Open.
Mouratoglou on Garcia: When I see her now, I see her No 1
"I think it was very difficult for Caroline in the past because the expectations were huge. We all remember that match she played against Sharapova. The entire tennis world said she would be No.
1. People get completely crazy with her without really knowing her. People were saying it's not necessary to take so much risk, it's stupid, she doesn't understand tennis and a lot of criticism. Especially about the father not knowing tennis, not understanding tennis.
So I think it hurted them a lot and that's why it took so long. And I think it's safe to say that today she accepts to play the tennis she feels like playing, being inside the baseline to return on second serves using really her qualities, being extremely aggressive, coming to the net a lot, and not to come to the net but always with very good attacks.
Someone super athletic, super intense, serving very well, an impressive player. When I see her play now, I see her No. 1," Mouratoglou explained in a video posted on his Instagram.
It remains to be seen if Garcia can now become a Grand Slam champion in 2023.