PARIS (Reuters) - Caroline Garcia was knocked out of the French Open fourth round by Angelique Kerber on Monday, but the local favourite is confident that she has what it takes to become the first French Grand Slam champion since 2013.
The 24-year-old Garcia’s face was in the front page of L’Equipe on Monday, quoting her as saying her goal was to “win a Grand Slam”, and she did not change her statement after her 6-2 6-3 defeat on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
“It was very nice, this headline, and I know that some people think I will never make it, but I’m sure I’m going to make it,” the seventh-seeded Garcia told reporters. “One day I will make it.”
The last French woman to win a singles Grand Slam title was Marion Bartoli, when she won Wimbledon five years ago. No French man has prevailed at a major since Yannick Noah won Roland Garros in 1983.
Garcia has been tipped as a potential Grand Slam winner since she burst into the limelight in 2011 as a wild card and led former world number one Maria Sharapova 6-3 4-1 in the second round.
Sharapova turned the situation around, but Garcia got a lot of praise. Andy Murray wrote: “The girl Sharapova is playing is going to be number one in the world one day ... what a player”.
Garcia, whose best performance at a major came last year when she reached the last eight in Paris, still has to deliver, but she peaked at a career high seventh in the WTA rankings this month.
One could not tell on Monday, however, as she kept misfiring against two-time Grand Slam champion Kerber.
“I wasn’t in it. I didn’t manage to find the rhythm, to be focused on my match. Plus the extra tension you have in Roland Garros, things got even worse,” she said.
“But on the day I can leave a Grand Slam saying I gave everything I had, I played a great match, is not here yet. Let’s say once again I exit a Grand Slam disappointed and frustrated, because I know I could do better. But you have to learn and continue.”
Reporting by Julien Pretot; editing by Larry King