Unexpected but not so surprising. This could summarize the title of Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic in women’s doubles. A second coronation, snatched away tough fight, Sunday, June 5, against Americans Gauff and Pegula. However, this return seems like a feat. Prior to the Tokyo Olympics last summer, the French have not played together since their Fed Cup victory in 2019. Eliminated this summer in the first round of the Games, they then played together at the Australian Open. , without further success (eliminated in the second round by the Kudermetova-Mertens pair).
Not classified in doubles and benefiting from an invitation from the Federation, the two Tricolors again won a title at Roland-Garros, and this, in very different circumstances from their first coronation, as explained in the press conference .
“How did you overcome the lack of benchmarks you had in doubles when you started this week at Roland-Garros?
Carolina Garcia: We were very humble at the start of the tournament. We focused on what we knew how to do. Maybe the markers weren’t very sharp, but we really caught up with each other. We thought that if at first we managed to be solid when we were on, it would be good. Then the level of play went up a bit, so the challenge was bigger, we had to work harder. But we played a few years together, we played great games, so we know each other well. Little by little we heard a lot of automatisms coming back, already individually and then as a team. It happened naturally. We were ready to play Roland-Garros.
What does this title mean to you individually? Could this have an impact on your singles or doubles career?
Carolina Garcia: I really didn’t expect to be in the doubles final.
Kristina Mladenovic: Me neither. We have a wildcard to enter the draw (Laugh).
Carolina Garcia : It’s totally a surprise because in 2016 we were in the Top 10 doubles, it was totally different. We were a great team, everyone was waiting for us. This year has not been like that. We didn’t expect it either. So let’s focus on the present and enjoy it. Of course, that’s a lot of positive energy for the coming weeks, in singles and doubles. In tennis, you have to take it all in stride. A WTA title is huge. In the Grand Slam, it’s even bigger.
Kristina Mladenovic : We had problems with physical problems, injuries. Caro was ready at the last minute. I also had problems for a while, I finally get back in shape and pace a bit. We had very tough individual rivals. We wanted to go further, but here we are again in the double chair. We said to ourselves: “We will try to play every game, try to improve in doubles, it will help us in singles”.
It was really unexpected because we haven’t played many doubles in the last few years. I won two more titles with Timea. But with Caro, we’re both French, so we thought it was like the Fed Cup, it’s like France against the United States. The audience was amazing this year even more than in 2016. It was an amazing time, we will remember.
So does this new title have a very special flavor to you?
Kristina Mladenovic: In 2016, it was the dream, we were six years younger and we met in our first Grand Slam final in women’s doubles, being French, at Roland-Garros. It was amazing, a dream. A lot has happened since then: we’ve both traveled a lot. We have great experience behind it. There was the victory in the Fed Cup and behind a final in the US Open.
This time we found ourselves in strange circumstances. We didn’t have a doubles ranking because we hadn’t played in a long time, so we got a wild card. We were hardly prepared enough. But there we are, we meet, we put together the means and the efforts on the ground to catch the matches one after the other. We are evolving. Let’s win. Let’s move on to the table. You may feel that energy and confidence increase. These are always very strong moments to finish in the Grand Slam finals. No one wants to miss a Grand Slam final. Today, this atmosphere is memories, moments we will never forget. It’s so special, if not more, to relive this with Caro. It really felt like France was against the United States. It was a Fed Cup atmosphere. It was a lot of chills and excitement. “