Garcia on Ljubicic's coaching advice

Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Friday, May 10, 2024

Caroline Garcia During this clay-court campaign, she gained a new ally on her side.

He gave bold advice.

More: Nadal fights Bergs in Rome. Return

Ivan Ljubicicformer coach Roger Federerwas in Garcia's penalty area with her coach, Bertrand Perretfor some of her recent matches.

Former Indian Wells champion Ljubicic was again in Garcia's box in Rome today, beating Italy's Elisabetta Cocciaretto 6-2, 7-6(5).

After that Garcia told L'EquipeThe former Croatian Davis Cup hero was a valuable adviser.

“I didn't know him too well before Indian Wells” Garcia told L'Equipe. “There he first commented a little on my match with Bertrand (Perret) and that this time he had an opinion on the same wavelength as where we want to go.

“Compared to his career as a player and coach, it was very interesting. Every time he was at tournaments, and if he was free, the doors were wide open for him! Bertrand, like me, wants to learn from outsiders. I think we have the magic recipe. Ivan comes quietly, gives some advice, and that’s nice.”

Garcia hit 11 aces today and won 30 of 35 first serve points to move into a third-round showdown with red-hot Miami and Charleston champion Danielle Collins.

Garcia is among the WTA leaders in service wins (77%) this season.

She believes the Frenchwoman's skill in holding serve gives her the ability to play from an ultra-aggressive return position, often inside the baseline.

This did not always pay dividends. Garcia's 23.9% return win percentage is one of the lowest of any player ranked in the top 50 this season. In contrast, Coco Gauff breaks 50% of the time, world number one Iga Swiatek breaks 46.7%, and Wimbledon winner Marketa Vondrouwa breaks 40% this season.

However, don't expect Garcia to get back over the baseline on his return anytime soon. Ljubicic's advice: increase aggression.

“In Rouen he watched all my matches and then wrote to us,” Garcia told L’Equipe about Ljubicic. “The first time he talked to Bertrand in Indian Wells, he told us: 'Okay, I understand Caroline's game, she's not really aggressive enough!' Bertrand fell a little from his chair and told me: “You sit down with Ivan at all costs (smiles).”

Photo credit: Cameron Spencer/Getty

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