Spain's Garbine Muguruza on what it took to stun Serena and the tennis world in the French Open
Paris: Garbine Muguruza said that fixing her mindset and getting rid of all the unnecessary emotions were key to her winning her first Grand Slam title at the French Open on Saturday.
Garbine Muguruza poses with the French Open trophy at Place de la Concorde in Paris yesterday. Pic/AFP
On the face of it her match-up with top seed and defending champion Serena Williams was an experience mismatch. The American had played 26 Grand Slam finals and won 21 of them. The Spaniard, 12 years her junior, was playing in just her second having lost last year's Wimbledon final to Williams. Plenty of reasons then for Muguruza, who has suffered from nerves in the past to get stressed out.
Coach at work
But French coach Sam Sumyk has been working on her mental approach. "I have been saying during the whole week to be less emotional. Just to control the emotions I think is the key sometimes, especially in a Grand Slam where you're very nervous and excited," she said. Other factors were at work in the Muguruza brain cells as she prepared to face up to a player many consider to be the greatest of all time.
Firstly, despite losing in straight sets to the American at Wimbledon she was far from disgraced, putting up a strong showing behind her big serve. There were the upset wins over Williams by Roberta Vinci in the US semi-finals and Angelique Kerber in the Australian Open final.
Muguruza will rise to a career-best second in the world rankings behind Williams with Wimbledon coming up where she already knows she can compete. It is just a matter of trying to get more consistent and avoid form slumps like the one she underwent earlier this year.
"I'm ambitious. I have a strong character and I like competition. I like to compete. I like to play against the best players," she said. "This is a source of motivation for me. I'm very happy, because today I proved to myself that I can play really well, that I can manage my stress and win against one of the best players in the world."