Tennis: World No.35 Caroline Garcia determined to reach the top

Caroline Garcia (facing camera) hitting a ball during a one-hour tennis cllinic at CHIJ Secondary (Toa Payoh) yesterday.
Caroline Garcia (facing camera) hitting a ball during a one-hour tennis cllinic at CHIJ Secondary (Toa Payoh) yesterday.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Earmarked for greatness since she was in her teens, Caroline Garcia is in a hurry to make up for lost time.

The Frenchwoman had been tipped by Andy Murray as a future world No. 1 after her showing at the 2011 French Open, which also had tennis legend Martina Navratilova gushing in praise.

Just 17 and ranked 188th in the world then, Garcia dominated Maria Sharapova for a set and a half and almost caused a stunning upset in the second round of Roland Garros before running out of steam.

Since that Paris deed, Garcia's rise has slowed somewhat and the world No. 35 told The Straits Times that she demands more herself and is "impatient to reach the top".

"I'm moving in the right direction. This year was better than last year but I want to do better," added the 22-year-old, who reached a career high of 25th in March.

She was speaking after yesterday's one-hour tennis clinic at CHIJ Secondary (Toa Payoh). She and her fellow WTA Rising Stars finalists Ons Jabeur (Tunisia), Zhu Lin (China) and Naomi Osaka (Japan) conducted a hitting practice and a question-and-answer session with the students.

The round-robin invitational - entry is free for the public - begins today at the OCBC Arena with Sunday's championship final held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, also the venue for the WTA Finals.

The season-ender is reserved for the top eight women, an elite field that Garcia hankers to join.

"I have won against top players this year and that gives you a lot of confidence to say you can do it again," she said. "Four years ago, I did not have the level to play this kind of tennis all year long.

"It took a long time to improve my game but now I am here."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 22, 2015, with the headline 'Garcia determined to reach the top'. Print Edition | Subscribe