Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 February 2020

Muguruza determined to 'put a Spanish name' on Wimbledon women's winners' wall

Last year's French Open winner has all the respect for Venus Williams ahead of women's final.

Garbine Muguruza hopes to make use of her second chance after having lost in the 2015 women's singles final. Tony O'Brien / AP Photo
Garbine Muguruza hopes to make use of her second chance after having lost in the 2015 women's singles final. Tony O'Brien / AP Photo

Garbine Muguruza is determined to see her name inscribed alongside the greats of Wimbledon after securing a showdown with Venus Williams in Saturday's final.

The Spaniard tormented Magdalena Rybarikova for an hour and five minutes on Centre Court on Thursday, on her way to clinching a second Wimbledon final appearance.

The thumping 6-1, 6-1 win came against a Slovakian player who had said it was her childhood dream to play in a semi-final on Centre Court, but who might have nightmares about how it panned out.

Now the 2015 runner-up will tackle five-time champion Williams, the 37-year-old sister of title holder Serena Williams, who is absent as she prepares to become a mother.

Seven-time Wimbledon queen Serena is the player who was Muguruza's conqueror two years ago and her name and that of Venus are unmissable on the board within the All England Club that lists all the former champions.

"I always stare at the wall where all the names are of the previous winners," Muruguza said. "There are a lot actually that are repetitive.

"I would like to see my name there hopefully. I'm here, I have another chance."

Asked if there was a particular former winner or winners that inspired her, Muguruza said: "Not one [in particular] gives me motivation, because all the names that I read, I know all of them.

"For the last few years, you see a lot of the Williams surname. I look forward to putting a Spanish name back there."

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One name on the board who has been an inspiration is Conchita Martinez, Spain's Fed Cup and Davis Cup captain who is with Muguruza at Wimbledon in the absence of her regular coach, Sam Sumyk. Sumyk is not in London for family reasons.

Martinez landed the Wimbledon title in 1994, coincidentally at the expense of another then 37-year-old great of the game in Martina Navratilova.

"I think she's helping me to deal with the stress of the tournament, because it's a long tournament," Muguruza said. "She knows how to prepare, how to train, what to do.

"It's not that I'm doing something different, honestly. But to have her by my side gives me also this little confidence of having someone that has won before."

Muguruza has lost three of her four career matches against Williams, but her one win in their series came this year, on clay in Rome.

"She knows how to play, especially Wimbledon finals," Muguruza said. "It's going to be like a historic final again."

Fittingly it was a backhand thrashed down the line that settled the issue against Rybarikova, who was able to only paddle it back into the bottom of the net.

That shot had done much of the damage against a player who had won 18 of her last 19 matches on grass.

Following a short-lived French Open campaign, Rybarikova played events in Surbiton, Nottingham and Ilkley, winning two titles and losing only to Johanna Konta in Nottingham.

She then beat Karolina Pliskova, who will become world number one next week, in the second round of Wimbledon.

It was some achievement to keep ploughing through the rounds, reaching her first semi-final of a slam at the 36th attempt, and at the age of 28, especially considering wrist and knee problems had seen her slide to 453rd in the world in March.

Now up to 87th and set for a big leap in the rankings next week, she was bidding to be the lowest-ranked women's grand slam finalist since Chris O'Neill, then ranked outside the top 100, won the 1978 Australian Open.

But Muguruza had other ideas.

"Obviously it was not my best day," Rybarikova said. "But she didn't give me much chance to do anything. So I have to congratulate her. I'm wishing her all the best in the finals."

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Updated: July 14, 2017 08:55 AM



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