The 2016 French Open champion, Garbiñe Muguruza, lost to Kristina Mladenovic in the round of 16 in this year’s French Open. The news is not so much about losing a tennis match. Rather, how she reacted after the loss and, more importantly, how to mentally be ready for the next opportunity.
Garbiñe 3-set match against local Kristina witnessed a very biased crowd, whose behavior was borderline unsportsmanlike. Constant booing and making loud noises made the match very difficult to play. The referee even had a hard time managing the rowdy crowd as he repeatedly had to request the boisterous fans to show decent decorum.
At the end of the match, Garbiñe walked out to the court wagging her finger to the crowd indicating how displeased she felt for the behavior they showed during the match. During the press conference, she could not hide her emotions and broke down in tears.
When asked about her match, she indicated she had difficulty staying focused. She tried to hold her emotions in and minimize her upsetting feelings. Her demeanor was one of wanting to move on and let the future to take care of this unpleasant match.
Her emotions are real and her frustration will linger, at least for a while. Although the general belief, and hers as well, is to move on and look forward to the next opportunities, there is a lot to be learned, especially at an emotional level.
Eventually, she will return to Roland Garros and/ or compete against Kristina. If she did not address and process her upsetting emotions, those will eventually catch up to her. She may try to block them, but her body will remember. Just knowing she will face Kristina again, her body will tense and so will her muscles. It is an organic body response, not because she is Garbiñe.
She will benefit using a psycho-therapeutic approach that combines mind-body integration. It is her body and how it holds the upsetting experience the one that needs to process this experience. Due to its natural non-verbal nature of how the body responds to emotions, it is only with an approach that combines mind and body that will be restore her lingering upsetting emotions and be 100% emotionally ready for when she faces Kristina again. Remember, it is not her brain that needs to “forget” about this match, it is her body and how it is holding such an unpleasant experience.
Look forward to seeing Garbiñe playing and winning in the future.