Garbine lost in the second round of the Indian Well Masters against an upcoming American player, Sachia Vickery, who is world ranked #100. After winning her first set 6-2 and being up 3-0 in the second set, she loses 5-7, 1-6. It is common for any top player to have unexpected losses and, often time, these experiences are used to catapult the game a higher notch. It is, however, the second time that Garbine lost to a local player where her mind first gave up and her great tennis skills declined afterwards.
The body stores implicit memories of our past experiences. These memories often fly under our conscientious radar because they do not seem to appear as often, although we surely feel them when we are in a situation that the implicit memory recalls as an unpleasant experience. At that time, the body begins to tense up, we become more distracted, and then our negative thoughts begin to creep in. By then, the body is already responding to a perceived threat and goes into survival mode. Focus is lost and tension increases as blood pressure rises, hormones and chemicals get ready for “action,” and muscle get ready to respond.
This physiological response is our human mechanism that has been in place since the beginning of our existence. Back then, it helped to survive threats from dinosaurs; now it response to the threat of not wanting to lose a tennis match. The physiological mechanism is exactly the same. It engages survival responses. More importantly, it remains as an implicit memory that will be triggered every time she puts herself in the same situation.
Garbine needs to address how her implicit memory, not as much her cognitive memory, is holding her past experiences. In my extensive experience practicing Somatic Psychology, it has help athletes to resolve and release unpleasant implicit memories. My unsolicited advice is that she spends time to restore her implicit memories as it will tremendously help her body not to carry memories that will otherwise continue to creep in.