You are here: Home » PTI Stories » National » News
Business Standard

Muguruza climbs back from brink to make Melbourne final

Topics
Sports

AFP  |  Melbourne 

Garbine Muguruza won only one match between June and December last year. Suffering illness, she was then thrashed 0-6 by a qualifier in her first set at the Australian Open.

Now the 26-year-old faces American surprise-package Sofia Kenin in the final in Melbourne on Saturday, on the cusp of a third Grand Slam title.

The Venezuelan-born Spaniard has been keen to play down the swift transformation in her fortunes, but the facts speak for themselves.

Dial back to July 2017, when Muguruza won Wimbledon to go with her French Open title a year earlier. In September 2017 she rose to world number one.

What followed was a gradual but marked decline that she is only reversing now.

Muguruza won one title in 2018, in Monterrey, Mexico, the other high point reaching the French Open semi-finals.

She retained her Monterrey crown in 2019 but lost in the first round at Wimbledon in July, precipitating a dire run where she reached only one second round in five tournaments.

In Melbourne, Muguruza bristled at one reporter's suggestion that she had been stuck in a "coma" for the last two years.

"I think a 'coma' is a pretty strong comment. I would say I think those years were less successful if you compare them to my previous years," said Muguruza, unseeded at a Grand Slam for the first time since 2014.

"I just think you struggle as a player and there are moments where things don't go your way.

"You just have to be patient and go through the rough moments, just hang in there and it will come back again." Come back again it certainly has and Muguruza, now at 32 in the world rankings, will dart up to 11th if she beats Kenin in the final.

- 'We felt ALIVE' -

===================


Despite giving the impression that she merely waited for her A-game to return, Muguruza in fact made two major decisions in November.

The first was to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak. It was a test physically and mentally, says Muguruza, who hates cold weather.

It helped clear her head of tennis for a few days. "HELL YES! We felt ALIVE!" she exclaimed on Instagram.

More significantly, Muguruza reunited with fellow former Wimbledon champion and compatriot Conchita Martinez as her coach.

Martinez was on Muguruza's team in 2017 when she won Wimbledon. The 47-year-old memorably said in Melbourne that they were the Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston of tennis -- meaning they were destined to be together again.

The results were immediate. In her first tournament of the year Muguruza reached the semi-finals in Shenzhen. She then made the quarter-finals in Hobart, but pulled out with a viral illness.

She was still suffering the effects when she folded 0-6 in the first set to American qualifier Shelby Rogers in the first round in Melbourne.

Only just well enough to play, she says, Muguruza recovered to win the next two sets 6-1, 6-0, and her Australian Open had begun. She beat three top-10 seeds on the way to the final.

Martinez said Friday there was no magic bullet -- they focused on Muguruza's fitness at the beginning and worked on "a lot of aspects of her tennis".

As for climbing mountains, Martinez believes it demonstrates Muguruza's mental strength.

"She was stubborn enough to get to the summit," Martinez said.

"I think that gives you something on the court where you might see something that is impossible, but everything is possible if you have the right mentality.

"She has the right mentality.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Fri, January 31 2020. 14:35 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU