Caroline Garcia

ROME—Caroline Garcia is calm as she looks upon the Foro Italico’s Olympic Swimming Stadium, our interview about to begin. Unlike the many she herself has conducted over the last six months, the former world No. 4 is the subject this time—a more familiar role for the nascent podcaster.

“I’m still very shy to ask questions,” smiles Garcia, host of the Tennis Insider Club. “But I’m learning.”

Garcia has been learning on the job since launching the podcast in February with partner and co-host Borja Durán, who has produced and edited the series’ six episodes (and counting).

“We are a small enterprise for now,” she jokes of her two-person crew that has already featured the likes of Ons Jabeur, Andrey Rublev and, most recently, Patrick Mouratoglou, “but it’s been a very good experience to be on the other side.”


Now 30 years old, Garcia has been giving interviews nearly half her life and has long been noted for the candor she brings to conversations with the media. But it was during what the 2022 WTA Finals champion describes as a “difficult time” last fall that inspired her and Durán to collaborate on a new way for her and her fellow players to open up about their lives on tour.

“With an athlete, you have to learn very quickly about certain parts of your life because you have a kind of expiration date,” she muses. “Something you might normally learn at 40 or 45, that would be too late, so you have to go through things extra quickly.

“We were in a good position to help players, coaches, athletes from all sports, to talk more freely about everything: how they started, what they’ve been through. We are both big fans of listening to podcasts, and we wanted create a free environment, a safe place for them to share things and talk to fans about how they went through some difficult moments in their career.”

Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan once declared “the medium is the message,” and it is a mantra that Garcia and Durán, whose native languages are French and Spanish, respectively, have embraced with gusto—delivering an aurally unique English-language podcast that is intentionally designed to create a comfortable atmosphere for their extended tennis family.


We are young, doing this and we don’t have this experience, but we’re having good fun, learning new skills and getting a good experience out of it. We want to grow and see where we can grow. Caroline Garcia on her podcast

“For non-English speakers, it’s sometimes difficult for us to understand American or English people, especially on podcasts,” explains Garcia, who draws inspiration from hosts like Jay Shetty and Mel Robbins. “Actually, when we listen to non-English speakers, it’s easier.

“Sometimes there’s pressure, but I’m also learning some new words,” she adds in her charmingly accented English. “Borja is always complaining about the way I say ‘able’ and ‘since.’ He’s tired of correcting it but it keeps coming!”

Garcia blushes, and it becomes clear that Tennis Insider Club is as much a labor of love between herself and Durán as it is a love letter to the sport itself. Asked the secret to her podcast’s success, she points to the marriage of their distinct perspectives.

“We think what helps us is the combination of my experience on the tour and Borja’s experience off the tour,” she says. “We have different points of view and so we ask different questions. I can often relate to what players have been through, but everyone’s experience is very different on things like media, pressure, your expectations and the expectations from others.

“I may ask fewer questions but there are special points that we agree to talk about. That’s what makes it fun and we’re able to share experience.”


She has also been able to share the experience with her fellow players, hosting the first longform interview with Alizé Cornet after her countrywoman announced her plans to retire at Roland Garros. The conversation was a remarkable coda to what had once been a turbulent relationship between Garcia and the French team, who famously banded against her following a late withdrawal from a 2017 Billie Jean King (formerly Fed) Cup tie.

“Sometimes, things happen in the career or in life,” reflects Garcia, who reconciled with Cornet and doubles partner Kristina Mladenovic through a winning run to the Billie Jean King Cup title in 2019. “There can be misunderstandings or words that go a bit too far. But you grow, you learn, you forget. That’s life, and for people like us, we have to learn things in a very short period of time, and on top of that, we have the pressure of the results that you and others are putting on yourself.”


Garcia has embraced a new kind of competitiveness as a podcaster, monitoring episode analytics and promoting the show on social media to the tune of a half a million views.

“One of our [Instagram] reels got shared by Jelena Djokovic, and when we saw this, we both ran to each other like, ‘Did you see this??’” Garcia exclaims, waving her arms for emphasis.

“The WTA is also helping to promote us; the ATP shared our interview with Gaël Monfils,” she continues. “You know, you have to make your way. And it’s quite funny to see what works and what doesn’t, but it’s all a great experience. Little by little, we have some good guests, which helps support us.”


The best support, according to Garcia, has come from the fans who have followed her through 13 appearances at Roland Garros—she will make her 14th on Sunday after making her debut in 2011, when she pushed Maria Sharapova to three sets as a teenager. From those who have been there to listen to what she has to say, and the new and exciting ways she has found to say it.

“I started a long time ago, and it’s good to remember that sometimes because you kind of forget why you started at the beginning,” says Garcia. “You don’t value it enough, or you put too much pressure on yourself where, to make it on Philippe-Chatrier or Suzanne-Lenglen court is already a big achievement.

“Sometimes you need to remember your younger self, or for someone else to remind you: This is a tournament that I dreamed about playing and I went to watch when I was a kid. I dreamed to be out on those courts and now I am there playing, and maybe inspiring some kids myself.”

Subscribe to the Tennis Insider Club on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, or watch episodes on YouTube.