World No. 4 and reigning WTA Finals winner Caroline Garcia has revealed past battles with the eating disorder bulimia.
The Frenchwoman told L’Equipe of her 2022 struggle, which she brought under control by easing her own expectations of herself.
The 29-year-old who reached a career-best Grand Slam semifinal four months ago at the US Open, spelled out details of her internal agony.
“I took refuge in food. Those were moments of crisis. You feel so empty, so sad, that you need to fill yourself up,” she told the sports daily.
“It was the distress of not being able to do what I wanted to do on the court, not winning and suffering physically”
Garcia added: “Eating calmed me down for a few minutes. We all know it doesn’t last, but… it was an escape. It’s uncontrollable.
“Afterwards, I started talking about it, to my relatives, to friends, to my parents. You start to understand. You realise that if it happens to you, it’s not the end of the world. Sometimes it’s just tiredness that makes your body need sugar.
The winner of four titles last season said she is now much less harsh on herself, part of a new self-care regime.
“Since I’ve been enjoying everything around tennis a little more and taking more time for myself, it happens less.
“And when it does happen, I accept it more and I feel less guilty. Now, if for two days I feel like having a pizza, I’ll take my pizza and it will stop obsessing me.”
She said she has stopped obsessively weighing herself and allows her body a few indulgences.
“I’m more of a weigh myself type of person, I’m more of a gram person. At one point I was quite hard on myself. I had fallen into excess.
“Today, it’s better. I can enjoy myself when I feel like it. Sometimes you need proof that it won’t do anything to your body.”