Sometimes you need to take a step back in order to move forwards. This is the conclusion one might take from Garbiñe Muguruza’s reflections on Wednesday’s Media Day, before her first match at the Mutua Madrid Open on Friday 29 April against Ajla Tomljanovic. The 28-year-old Spaniard is back in the Caja Mágica after a month and a half out with a shoulder problem.
The world No. 7 is well aware that her return is one of the main attractions for the home fans at the #MMOPEN. “I would love to find my best tennis here, every year I come here with that mentality and I hope things will click after feeling good in training and fresh as I haven’t played coming in”, admitted the Caracas-born player.
The 2016 French Open and 2017 Wimbledon champion also knows that she will have to shake off some rust, but it will do nothing to dampen her desire to find her A-game on her ninth appearance at the Spanish capital’s WTA 1000. “I’m sure it’ll affect me when returning to competition, but it’s a decision I’m happy to have made”, clarified Muguruza.
The ninth seed leads the head-to-head with her opponent with three wins to the Australian’s two, although Tomljanovic came out on top of their last meeting, in Indian Wells (2021). Interestingly, their #MMOPEN clash will be their first encounter on this surface. “Clay always suits me because I’ve played thousands of hours on it since I was little”, the champion of last year’s Akron WTA Finals in Guadalajara explained.
¡Apunta la fecha! ?️
— #MMOPEN (@MutuaMadridOpen) April 26, 2022
After six weeks away from the tour, Muguruza is happy about her time away for more than just her physical recovery. “It was a good time for me. My body needed to be away from the day-to-day of competition and I feel excited to be back because Madrid has always been important for me as it’s the only tournament we have”, admitted the former-world No. 1.
Well rested and with a clear head, the home player could improve on her personal best in the Caja Mágica, which came when she reached the last sixteen in 2018. “Missing one or two allows you to train well again, recover and come into tournaments with more energy. Now I’m approaching matches differently to deal with the difficult moments and trying to have better results in the clay season than last year”, she said.
Muguruza also spoke about Spanish tennis’ current boom with the breakthroughs of Paula Badosa at No. 2 in the world and Carlos Alcaraz in the Top 10, where he joins Rafa Nadal and Garbiñe herself. “It’s a really good period right now. We’ve always been dominant, but now there’s a large variety of games and ages, in both men’s and women’s tennis. Spain is in power right now”.