US Open 2022 – Incredible level, impeccable state of mind: no more doubt, Garcia is in the game

US Open 2022 - Incredible level, impeccable state of mind: no more doubt, Garcia is in the game
Last week, before the start of this US Open 2022, we were the first, here, to temper the possible runaway syndrome who could have been born around Caroline Garcia after her murderous summer haloed in particular by her formidable title at the WTA 1000 in Cincinnati. After having seen the French demolish the formidable Bianca Andreescu in power (6-3, 6-2 in 1h27), on the night of Friday to Saturday, it is perhaps time, now, to remove the last circumspections of use and to finally let go of the word: yes, the Frenchwoman is indeed a candidate for the title in this US Open. Maybe even one of the favorites.

As we soon reach the end of the first week, we have not seen in any case many players offer a more beautiful tennis than “Caro” did to sting the champion of the 2019 edition. So to speak, we haven’t seen any. It is not inflamed to say that the French played a rather extraordinary match, full of drive and panache, studded with a myriad of winning shots (31) which made the spectators rise with enthusiasm. Louis Armstrong Stadium.

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A panache à la Henri Leconte

Even if “Caro” gave up his service (and even twice) after 34 engagements held consecutively, we won’t quibble. We will rather remember that she is the ninth Frenchwoman in history to have now reached the second week of all the Grand Slams after Françoise Dürr, Nathalie Tauziat, Mary Pierce, Sandrine Testud, Julie Halard, Amélie Mauresmo, Marion Bartoli and Alizé Cornet .

Even if it means repeating yourself, we especially remember this wonderful way of playing, constantly projected forward, driven by a permanent desire to hurt the opponent and never play the slightest neutral blow. This Caroline, standing on the table, mounted on springs and drawn like a magnet by the net, definitely looks like a modern-day Henri Leconte. It is unknown if she is the strongest girl in the tournament. But surely, not a girl plays like her.

“It was one of the keys to the match: putting pressure on constantly, seizing every opportunity, finding myself inside the court before her and playing faster than her, explained at a press conference the one who now finds herself virtually 8th in the world in the Race. It’s a game in line with the one I’ve been developing in recent weeks, trying to shorten rallies as much as possible, putting pressure on serve and return. I’m really happy with the way I played. But it’s a constant challenge.”

The idea now is to shut my mouth

A technical challenge, of course. And a mental challenge, above all. Caroline Garcia’s tennis is like an exercise in tightrope walking: it requires constant precision and concentration, but above all unshakeable self-confidence, perhaps the ingredient that has been most lacking in recent seasons. . The slightest grain of sand, and it’s downfall. The margin being almost zero, the right to error is prohibited. Suffice to say that it is necessary to have clear ideas.

If the Frenchwoman shines with a thousand lights today, she owes it to the behind the scenes work done with her team at the tennis level of course, but also and above all at the level of attitude. “It’s an area that we put a lot of emphasis on: trying to stay calm and focused on every point, and that mindset is really paying off, also rejoiced the Lyonnaise. At the start of the year, I had a hard time controlling myself. It’s true that sometimes I can get frustrated. The idea now is to shut my mouth. Because when I start talking on the court, it usually doesn’t go well. The last few weeks have proven to me that staying calm and focused does work.”

A shower of winners: how Garcia overwhelmed Andreescu

Obviously, the discourse on the importance of playing point by point and staying “focused” on the present moment, it will not revolutionize the genre. We even come close to stating the obvious. But if Garcia, like so many others before her, insists on the need for such an attitude, it is because it is much more difficult to maintain than to describe. It is even impossible without a perfectly clear state of mind, rid of all external pollutants. In her way of remaining well calibrated on her game plan, of smiling on the court even after a lost point, and of walking her serenity even in front of the media, Caroline Garcia, without a shadow of a doubt, has never been so in tune with herself and with her tennis.

Garcia remains on his guard

So, ready to win the US Open? That’s it, the question was dropped at a press conference, and by a foreign journalist please. She made Caroline smile, who also did not depart from a no less conventional – but obligatory – answer on the famous “match after match”. “The road is still long. For now, it’s only three matches won… It’s true that it’s great to find myself in the second week here for the first time. But things can go quickly. It will take just be ready for what’s next.”

The rest, after this first week smoothly conducted (3h47 spent in total on the court) and, somewhere, this first contract fulfilled, it will therefore be against the American Alison Riske-Amritraj (29th in the world). And it’s true that it’s complicated not to project yourself, facing a player whose pedigree she has nothing to envy. But a player who has never succeeded, with three defeats in three confrontations. The last time was last June, in Nottingham, on grass. Just before Caroline Garcia, who was just returning from a foot injury, became “Flying Caro” again. A fighter plane that has successfully taken off, and now found its cruising altitude. One mission remains to be accomplished…

Garcia: “Winning a Grand Slam is still my dream and my goal”

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