Garbine Muguruza was ranked at No. 3 in the world after winning the WTA Finals in 2021 but could soon drop out of the top 100 as she has struggled to win matches lately. The 29-year-old says she is trying to stay “calm and more simple” and that her ranking is not a priority anymore. Muguruza was set to play the Abu Dhabi Open this week but has withdrawn due to personal reasons.
Garbine Muguruza says she is trying to be “humble” and to keep things “simple” in a bid to rediscover her best form.
Two-time Grand Slam champion Muguruza, 29, was ranked at No. 3 in the world when she won the season-ending WTA Finals in 2021. But she won just 12 times on the WTA Tour last year and is currently on a six-match losing streak.
Muguruza, who has withdrawn from this week’s Abu Dhabi Open due to personal reasons, hopes a steady approach will bring about a positive change.
“I’ve had so many moments in my career where I’ve been so high, and other moments when I’ve not been so high,” she told The National.
“It’s a process of trying to get back up there. Now I’m focusing on training hard and being humble. You have to know that maybe you haven’t had the success recently as you had in other years, but that’s fine because things can change very quickly.
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“With tennis, one week it can go wrong, then next week it can go well, then everything changes again. I think experience helps me to stay calm in the not-so-good moments when I haven’t been playing as well or results haven’t followed.”
Muguruza won the French Open in 2016 and Wimbledon a year later. But last season, she had a 12-17 win-loss record and was beaten in the first round at both the French Open and Wimbledon.
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“I feel that this year it’s more about keeping it calm and more simple,” she said.
“Last year, I put myself under a lot of pressure, telling myself to keep going to stay at the top all the time. That definitely didn’t help me, and it was a bit of a struggle.
“This year, yes the ranking is important – I’ve been at every possible ranking – but that is not my priority anymore. Now it’s about enjoying my time on court and taking the trophies back home, then we’ll see what the ranking is.”
Muguruza is down at No. 82 in the rankings and needed a wild card to enter the Abu Dhabi Open.
She struck a similar chord about being “humble” after losing to Elise Mertens in the first round of the Australian Open last month.
“I will have to make a proper calendar with my ranking,” she said.
“I’ll try to play the best tournaments too, but when I can’t I’ll look at other lesser ones. I will value these types of tournaments. It’s time to be humble.”
The Abu Dhabi Open draw is headlined by top-10 players Daria Kasatkina, Belinda Bencic and Elena Rybakina, who made the Australian Open final last month.
WHAT’S HAPPENED TO MUGURUZA?
Muguruza finished last year with the worst winning percentage of her career (41.14%). Only once before has she been under 50% and that was her first year as a professional on tour in 2012.
Perhaps the two most striking losses of the 2022 season were in the first rounds of the French Open and Wimbledon. Muguruza’s defeat to Kaia Kanepi in Paris was the fifth time in nine events that she had lost after winning the first set, and a month later at Wimbledon, Muguruza made 33 unforced errors and won just seven points in the second set in defeat to world No. 88 Greet Minnen.
Her 2023 season started with defeats to Bianca Andreescu and Belinda Bencic in Adelaide before losing to 26th seed Mertens in three sets at the Australian Open.
She was then beaten by qualifier Linda Noskova in the first round of the Lyon Open.
Speaking about her form last summer, Muguruza said: “I’m suffering from trying to find the tennis I played last year.
“That’s holding me back, constantly comparing myself to how I ended last year. I have to forget a bit and play. The pressure is making me shrink sometimes.”
With points to defend this month, Muguruza could soon drop out of the top 100 unless her form improves.
The 2023 Australian Open was live and the French Open will follow on discovery+, the Eurosport app and at eurosport.co.uk