US Open: 'The path is very clear right now' – Garcia on her red-hot form after quarter-final triumph

By Sports Desk September 06, 2022

After once being considered one of the top young prospects in all of tennis, Caroline Garcia says she feels like she is finally prepared to handle everything that is required to deliver on the biggest stages.

In her toughest matchup of the tournament so far, the Frenchwoman was emphatic as she comfortably handled rising star Coco Gauff 6-3 6-4 in Tuesday's quarter-final.

Garcia, 28, shot onto the international stage when she was impressive before ultimately losing to Maria Sharapova back in 2011 when she was just 17 years old.

At the time, Andy Murray tweeted that she would be a future world number one, and she appeared to be on that path when she peaked at fourth in the world in 2018, before a couple of rough years had her residing outside of the top 50.

Now in career-best form, Garcia has 31 wins from her past 35 matches, including 13 wins in a row and six straight-sets victories on the trot.

Speaking to the media after her quarter-final triumph, Garcia said the long, winding journey to this point has only given her valuable experience.

"When it was 2011 after the Sharapova match, it was a lot of pressure coming from actually nowhere," she said. "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.

"It was tough because people were expecting a lot. But the game, I was not ready for anything like that. It took me some time to come step-by-step to the top.

"End of 2017, 2018 was a great year, a lot of success. Yeah, I made some mistakes. We made some mistakes. I really hope and think we can learn from it.

"Now, it's a new year, trying to learn from every challenge. I think I've grown up a lot with all the challenges on and off court. Off court, it's very important to manage all of it."

Touching on what has clicked in her recent run, Garcia said she has figured out what works for her, which has simplified everything.

"I'm just trying to focus on my game, on what I like to do, and how is the best way for me to play tennis," she said.

"The path is very clear right now, which direction I have to go, under stress, under pressure. I'm just trying to follow this path. That's how we prepare with the team. We try to do the best we can in this direction.

"It was not that clear in the past. It was not that clear. I mean, I've always been very aggressive. I always try to put the pressure on the other one to be on the court.

"But I was younger… and now [I can] accept that it's actually the only way for me. So if I want to do good, I have to go that way. Yeah, now it's way more clear.

"Obviously with a lot of wins, I'm having fun playing. I can see so many things I can still improve, so it's a great challenge for our team."

Garcia will play world number five Ons Jabeur in the semi-final, with Jabeur winning both of their two previous matches since turning professional.

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