Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
Caroline Garcia speaks to media ahead of contesting the 2023 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How are you feeling entering this tournament?
CAROLINE GARCIA: I’m happy to be back in Dubai. It’s a very nice tournament. It’s a big one, big draw, tough match. I’m really obviously exciting to start a 1000 event.
Q. The balls changed here this year. How are you feeling the conditions are in general?
CAROLINE GARCIA: I haven’t been practicing much. Just got a practice yesterday. Going on court this afternoon again.
Yeah, but it’s the same ones we had last week in Doha. Obviously it was colder and very windy, but didn’t feel that different. I have to admit, I don’t really remember last year how was it.
It’s pretty fast condition here. The court is fast. The ball is going through the air fast. Yeah, it’s okay.
Q. I’m wondering, where do you see your form at the moment? You finished last year really, really well. Now that we’re a month and a half into the season, where do you see your form?
CAROLINE GARCIA: It’s hard to say. I wish it would be better, better results in the beginning of the year. I didn’t feel very good on court. I didn’t really feel like playing my game completely free, completely relaxed, completely like letting things go. It’s definitely something we were working on since a week. Really we are doing that. And stop comparing from what it was last year, full of confidence, full of playing I don’t know how many matches.
Yeah, just trying to improve on the current moment, improve one day to another in a good direction, taking one day at a time and seeing how far I can go.
Q. The off-season was quite short.
CAROLINE GARCIA: It was (smiling).
Q. In a way you can see it either as you can carry the momentum, or you have to tell yourself that this is a brand-new year. How do you balance both? By telling yourself I want to take confidence from what I did? Without adding pressure? How do you do that balance?
CAROLINE GARCIA: Apparently I didn’t do good (smiling).
You have to take the confidence of a great year of tennis, playing good, proving to yourself that your game style is a game style that is working and it can bring you a lot of great things. You have to take that. Then it’s a totally new year.
Like, playing someone who is top 4 in the world, people don’t prepare or play the same than when you’re playing another girl top 50 like you. You have to, yeah, have your own expectation being a top player, then the expectation of the other one, feeling like you cannot lose any more.
It’s tennis, so obviously there is a lot of things happening. It’s easy to say, but it’s quite difficult to put it in practice – for me. I don’t know about the other ones, but for me.
Q. What were you able to unlock last year? What did you do last year that you’re not doing now that you’re saying you’re not feeling as good as you did, you’re not feeling free enough to play? Can you talk about that.
CAROLINE GARCIA: Yeah, I think, like I say, mainly I was feeling lighter last year. When you are top 70 or top 50, you play against someone top 10, you have nothing to lose. Now it’s a little bit the other way around.
You have less expectation about yourself. You can play more free. You are not afraid or you’re not mad if you make a mistakes, which is not quite what was happening right now. With the game style I want to play, it’s a little bit tricky.
Q. Sania Mirza is playing her very last tournament.
CAROLINE GARCIA: Yes.
Q. Could you say a few words on what do you think Sania meant to the game?
CAROLINE GARCIA: I think she meant a lot. She had a very long career, starting very good in singles first, then in doubles last couple of years, did some amazing work.
She brings so much I think in tennis and in the women’s sport. Being from India, she’s a huge star obviously in tennis but also just as a regular person.
Most of the time when you cross Indian people, if you say you are playing tennis, they always know Sania Mirza even if they don’t know a clue about tennis.
I think there is very few people who can say they inspire just boys and girls in their country. She’s definitely a huge star all around the world.
Q. When you say you’re playing with less expectations on yourself, is there a difference mentally and physically the way you prepare for competitions and matches?
CAROLINE GARCIA: Yeah, I don’t know, it’s a feeling. It’s a way of seeing things. It’s a mentality, a mindset. Like, what do you want to do? What are your intention? Where you want to go? How you want to play? Doing mistakes, that for sure are going to happen. How do you manage it?
There is many things who can come on top of that.
Q. What do you do in your downtime? What kind of music do you listen to?
CAROLINE GARCIA: I do that. I do that (laughter).
No, you don’t have so much downtime, which is actually a shame. Better ranked you are, less downtime you have. That’s something you have to try to manage, try to deal with it, trying to find solution to have time to enjoy.
Q. I know you spend quite a bit of time here. Do you have spots you like going to, activities you like doing here?
CAROLINE GARCIA: I like to go to Common Ground Restaurant. That’s my favorite spot (smiling).
I like I think JBR is pretty nice. Yesterday we went to Hard Rock for coffee, a concert, and it was actually nice just to have something really outside of context, outside of tennis. In Dubai you can find whatever you want. That’s good.
Q. Do you work out on the beach at all?
CAROLINE GARCIA: No. My feet don’t allow me to do that. But I’m glad (smiling).
Q. Are you a shopper?
CAROLINE GARCIA: No, I’m not a shopper, not at all.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports