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Meet Caroline Garcia, the Silent Assassin

Meet Caroline Garcia, a 27-year-old French tennis player who not only dominated Karolína Plíšková, the number 1 overall seed in the women’s side of the US Open bracket, but did so in complete silence.

See, usually when a #1 seed goes down in the second round of a grand slam, the roar inside a packed stadium can be heard miles away. The momentum created during each and every point becomes impalpable. The heavy favorite all of a sudden becomes a ruthless underdog.

Tennis players, more so than any other athletes in the world, depend on the energy of fans to get them through a match. Many players have credited big wins to the support of home crowds and the ability to create a second gear off the basis of a raucous crowd. However, this year, due to the coronavirus, that resurgence that comes through a standing ovation or an ongoing chat, has to be created internally through one’s mind.

So how did Garcia do it? How did she beat the number 1 overall seed without the support of a cheering crowd?

Well for starters, Garcia came into the match with house money. The young player from France had nothing to lose from this match. She was not supposed to win and was able to take chances that Plíšková could not afford to risk. Also, it is worth noting that walking onto a court that is filled with cheering fans can sometimes be intimidating to a heavy underdog.

While fans obviously love to see upsets happen, they expect the better player to win and will hence, cheer for that player during the early stages of a match. With no fans in the stands, Garcia was able to calm her nerves quickly and focus on the task at hand which was to play high-quality tennis.

Finally, the reason Garcia was able to pull off this historic upset was because she flat out, played a better brand of tennis. If she and Plíšková were to play ten times, there is a good chance Karolína would win nine of those matches. However, during this match in-particular, Garcia caught fire and Plíšková could not hit water on a sunken ship. For every forehand that Garcia would hit, Plíšková would answer with an unforced error on the baseline. This sloppy play of tennis would continue for the number 1 seed throughout the match, resulting in a straight-set upset defeat.


So, where does Caroline Garcia go from here?

She just had the greatest win of her young career and is now expected to turn around two days later and face American phenom, Jennifer Brady. It is very rare that you see a competitor upset the number one seed and then turn around and win their next match.

The reason for this is that after coming off the win, the athlete lets their emotions get way too high, and it is almost impossible to temper those emotions by the time of their next match.

But can you really blame them? They just beat a number one overall seed in a grand slam tournament which will more often than not, be the greatest moment of their tennis career. With that being said however, after upsetting Plíšková in silence, I think it safe to say that Caroline Garcia should never be counted out of a match.

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Peter Snyder is an Intern sportswriter who covers collegiate athletics as well as professional sports.
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