In the 2011 French Open, a 17-year-old girl named Caroline Garcia, ranked No 188 was about to go up against the notorious Maria Sharapova.
Going into the match, not much was expected from the relatively unknown youngster, facing someone of Sharapova’s stature was meant to be an enchanting experience rather than an intense matchup, but that is what it ended up being.
Garcia put massive pressure on the No 1 ranked Sharapova right out of the gate, with the young girl leading the Russian by a set and 4-1.
Maria Sharapova eventually found her feet, though and ran riot to defeat the 17-year-old star, but Garcia’s effort and obvious talent did not go unnoticed in the world of tennis.
During the match, British tennis star Andy Murray tweeted a prediction to show just how impressed he was by Garcia.
“The girl Sharapova is playing is going to be number one in the world one day caroline garcia, what a player u heard it here first.”
The girl sharapova is playing is going to be number one in the world one day caroline garcia, what a player u heard it here first
— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) May 26, 2011
Ranked at a modest, yet distant 188th at the time, Murray still tipped her to become the best player in the world.
You can understand why some would have raised an eyebrow at the Scot’s bold call.
Fast forward six years and Garcia has now jumped 179 rankings to be ranked No 9 in singles and No 29 in doubles, having previously been ranked second – following a fantastic run of recent form, which included beating current world number one Simona Halep on Sunday.
Garcia now ranks way above Maria Sharapova, who now finds herself ranked No 86 in the women’s game.
The young 17 year old that Murray saw bravely go up against Sharapova now has several titles to her name in a glittering career that has potential to reach the very very top.
Over the last two weeks, the 23-year-old has won 11 straight matches, claimed back-to-back titles, broken into the top 10 and looks set to pip Jo Konta for a place at the season-ending WTA Finals.
Perhaps wisely, she has opted to withdraw from Tianjin Open this week to recover from an unspecified injury. Coincidentally, Sharapova is set to feature, though.
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