As comfortable during a fitting of cowboy boots and cowboy hats as in evening dress for the official photo with the seven other participants in the WTA Masters, Caroline Garcia hasn’t let go of her smile since her arrival. in Fort Worth, Texas, where the competition takes place. Now sixth in the WTA rankings, the Frenchwoman enjoys her place among the best players in the world, acquired at the end of a rich season.
But the end of her collaboration with her trainer, Bertrand Perret, announced by the interested party on Friday, October 28, could make her wince, as the technician has allowed her to regain her best level.
Three titles, a semi-final at the US Open, a new title in doubles – with Kristina Mladenovic – at Roland-Garros, a first title in the WTA 1000 (the most competitive tournaments after the Grand Slam) for five years… Caroline Garcia had her most prolific season since 2017, the year of her first and only participation in the Women’s Masters, where she then occupied the 8e world rank.
A successful season, or rather a summer, since the Frenchwoman shone above all between mid-June and mid-September, with 31 victories in 36 games, and titles acquired on three different surfaces: grass in Bad Homburg (Germany), clay in Warsaw (Poland), and hard court in Cincinnati (USA).
These successes allowed him to go from the 74e at the 6e place worldwide this fall. “Returning to the top 10 was the goal, but I wasn’t considering it so soon”she wondered, in the columns of The TeamSeptember 12.
This renewal, the Lyonnaise owes it in part to her new sports coaching. Her father, who had trained her from 2012 to 2021, stepped away from the courts at the request of his daughter, while remaining her manager, and Bertrand Perret, as well as a physiotherapist and physical trainer, Laura Legoupil, joined Caroline Garcia. This team allowed him to regain confidence in his game, despite a difficult start to the season due to a foot injury.
“At the beginning of the year, when there were not the expected results and I saw my ranking go down, there was at home [Bertrand Perret] something positive and confidence. If I continued to train like that, with this identity, one day or another, it would pay off. He gave me confidence”confided Caroline Garcia to The Teamin September.
Under the leadership of Bertrand Perret, former coach of the Chinese Peng Shuai and the Tunisian Ons Jabeur, Caroline Garcia is approaching the best ranking of her career (4e, in September 2018), and returned to the tennis that made him so successful. With a clinical service, an assumed forward game, catches the ball early after the rebound, and a forehand which allows her to finish the points, the French number 1 becomes dominant again on the courts. “Tennis played forward is what I like. This game is more and more clear in my head”, she explained after her defeat in the semi-finals at the US Open.
“Problems” which “ended up spoiling the atmosphere”
But while Caroline Garcia had found a coach who seemed to have understood the best way to make her work, in a clan where her father was often considered omnipresent, the announcement of the end of the collaboration between the player and Bertrand Perret surprised , especially at the dawn of the Masters. “In recent weeks there have been problems. They ended up spoiling the atmosphere and I preferred to stop. I do this job for fun and there were fewer of them”explained Perret to The Teamwithout expanding on the nature of the problems. “I’m happy to have taken her to the Masters, for all that we have done. I have no problem with Caroline and I’m happy for her.”he added.
Saturday, at a press conference, Caroline Garcia explained that the departure of Perret “was a surprise”, but did not go further into the details of this separation. “He decided to leave the team and I respected that decision. I would just like to thank Bertrand [Perret] for all the hard work done this year. We started low and got to the top at the end of the season. » To receive advice from a coach during the Masters, the Frenchwoman chose to call on the Argentinian Juan Pablo Guzman, with whom she has already collaborated for part of the year 2021.
For this Masters, the draw placed the Lyonnaise in the so-called “Tracy Austin” group, with the American Coco Gauff, the Russian Daria Kasatkina, and the favorite, the Polish world number 1 Iga Swiatek, as opponents. ” It’s a good band. Anyway, there are the eight best players of the year. You can’t really choose who you’re going to play, but it will be very exciting. For me, these are three different types of matches. I will try to do my best”commented Caroline Garcia.
In Fort Worth, she will try to do at least as well as during her first participation, by reaching the semi-finals, before, why not, succeeding Amélie Mauresmo, the only Frenchwoman in history to have won the Women’s Masters , in 2005.