Behind the showcase of trophies, there is always the other side of the decor, often paved with wounds, doubts and torments of all kinds.
In an interview with L'Equipe this Thursday, Caroline Garcia, who went from 74th place in the world to 4th place last year, details in particular how she has come to terms with the eating disorders that accompanied her return to the top of world tennis.
“Some will no longer eat, me it was the opposite: I took refuge in food, testifies the Lyonnaise, 29, who first struggled with a persistent foot injury, before things went back. in order and that she goes on to several titles (on all surfaces), a half at the US Open and a triumph at the Masters.
These were times of crisis.
You feel so empty, so sad, that you need to fill yourself up.
It was the distress of not being able to do what I wanted on the court, no longer winning and suffering physically.
Eating calmed me down for a few minutes.
We all know it doesn't last, but... It was an escape.
The 4th player in the world explains how she managed to channel a trend that could have rushed her to the bottom.
“When you're alone, it's harder to control.
And in tennis, you spend a lot of time alone in your room.
That's often how it happened.
Afterwards, I started talking about it, to my relatives, to friends, to my parents.
You begin to understand.
You realize that if this happens to you, it's not the end of the world.
Sometimes it's just fatigue that makes your body crave sugar.
It's not going to change your life either.
Sometimes it was inexplicable.
I needed to fill myself up to make up for the defeat and the pain.
“The defeat became an excuse to allow me everything”
The Lyonnaise also confides in the obsessive nature that accompanies the permanent search for performance.
“I'm more of the type to weigh myself often, to be to the nearest gram.
In fact for me, an athlete needs to be fit.
This is the image you need to send back.
At one point, I was pretty hard on myself.
A little too much compared to the style of sport that I practice which requires a certain strength.
It is an apprenticeship.
I had overdone it.
Today is better.
I manage to have fun when I feel it.
If I want to eat that, I do it knowing I'm doing it.
And I see that the next day, it's fine.
Sometimes you need proof that it's not going to do anything to your body.
For example, I ate a pizza the day before my match against Kasatkina (at the Masters, 3rd pool match).
I wanted it.
I found a gluten-free dough.
I was so happy with my pizza!
And I lasted 2h30 on the court the next day - victory 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7/5).
At the dawn of the 2023 season, it is a more mature and in control Garcia who will appear on the courts.
“Now, if for two days, I want a pizza, well, I'll have my pizza and it will stop obsessing me.
I had a hard time accepting the fact that it wasn't going to transform my body.
I allow myself a small dessert from time to time rather than thinking about it all week and ending up completely cracking.
Defeat became an excuse to allow everything to me.
This is much less the case today.
In the players' restaurant, there are plenty of temptations, it's not easy.
You learn about yourself as you go.