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Caroline Garcia at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship Player’s Roundtable press meet on Sunday. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: The pressure of expectations is hampering Caroline Garcia’s progress this year and the Frenchwoman is hoping to play her normal game in Dubai women’s tennis championships, which began on Sunday.

Garcia had a brilliant 2022 where she won the WTA Tour finals apart from making the US Open semi-finals to regain her world No 4 ranking. But that success has added more pressure on her when she takes on players below her ranking.

Great year

“You have to take the confidence of a great year, proving to yourself that your game is working and it can bring you a lot of great things. Then it’s a totally new year,” said the current world No 5 during a round table event organised by the Dubai Tennis championships on Sunday.

“You have your own expectation being a top player, then the expectation of the other one, feeling like you cannot lose any more. There are a lot of things happening mentally.”

Garcia lost in the round of 16 in the Australian Open and her best appearance so far in 2023 is the Qatar Open final, where the 29-year-old lost to Alycia Parks in straight sets.

Role reversal

Elaborating more on what she is going though, the Frenchwoman says that she doesn’t have the liberty to have the easy, carefree attitude when she was below 50, when she had nothing to lose.

“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 and not mad if you make a mistake, which is not quite what was happening right now,” said the fourth-seeded Garcia, who will be opening her campaign against American Madison Keys.

“I want to play my game completely free, relaxed, letting things go. It’s definitely something I am working on since a week. Really want to stop comparing from what it was last year. I want to regain full confidence,” Garcia concluded.