Sunday, July 16, 2017
Two's company as magnificent Muguruza finds winning formula
LONDON - It was a tale of two coaches and two sisters for Garbine Muguruza on Saturday as the Spaniard found the formula to steer her way through a barrage of high-intensity tennis and claim her first Wimbledon crown.
The moment of truth came in the 10th game when her opponent Venus Williams, 37 but playing with the energy of a teenager, threatened to cut loose after a captivating half hour of play.
The Venezuela-born 23-year-old faced two set points on her own serve but held her nerve to win them both, before reeling off the next nine games against the seven-times grand slam champion, a player she idolised in her youth.
"I was so excited to go out there and win, especially over somebody like a role model," Muguruza told reporters following the 7-5 6-0 victory that brought her her second major title.
With that comes the distinction of becoming the first player to beat both Venus and sister Serena in grand slam finals.
That triumph over the younger Williams came at last year's French Open, which was followed by a dip in form that has transitioned from a gradual to a spectacular reversal over the past fortnight.
"(It) is very hard to find a recipe to feel good fitness-wise, tennis-(wise), mentally. I think in this tournament I put everything together, which is very hard," Muguruza said.
One obvious new factor at the All England Club has been the addition to her entourage of Conchita Martinez in the absence of regular coach Sam Sumyk, whose wife is expecting a baby.
The new champion met Martinez - who beat a 37-year-old Martina Navratilova in 1994 to become Spain's only previous Wimbledon women's singles winner - as she paraded with her trophy through the corridors beneath Centre Court.
The pair embraced like family before being joined for a patriotic photo-op by Madrid-born four-times men's slam champion Manuel Santana, who lifted the Wimbledon crown in 1966.
"Obviously, I like Conchita to be in my team because I have a great relation with her," Muguruza said.
"We were very excited ... - the coincidence of her (beating) Navratilova, me (beating) Venus.. was, like, awesome."
Did that mean winning the title without Sumyk had given Muguruza extra confidence?
"No, definitely not... I was talking with him every day... We've done a very good job before.. I guess (him and Martinez) is a combination."
And the underlying message for her regular coach was laced with humour.
Asked at courtside if she had anything to say to him, she held the trophy aloft and said: "Here it is."
(Reporting by John Stonestreet, editing by Ed Osmond)