Wimbledon | Muguruza excited to be back
GARBINE Muguruza revealed it felt “incredible” to step back onto Centre Court to begin her defence of her Wimbledon title.
The Spaniard was made to toil in the sun before sealing a 6-2 7-5 victory over unseeded Briton Naomi Broady.
And keep on track to become the sixth player in the open era to win the most coveted women’s crown in the world back-to-back.
The crowd were very fair. Very equal to both players. Naomi had big shots but I was happy with my serve. And controlling my emotions. I’m excited with the way I’m playing Garbine Muguruza
She said: “It was incredible. To be on such a beautiful court. I wanted to come back and enjoy the experience more.
“The crowd were very fair. Very equal to both players. Naomi had big shots but I was happy with my serve. And controlling my emotions. I’m excited with the way I’m playing.”
Her reputation for being vulnerable early on in tournaments certainly rang true as Broady stood toe to toe with the third seed in the second set. It was a million miles from their only match at an ITF event in Wrexham seven years ago.
And when she broke the home favourite to seal the match, the celebration was low key. The smile which lit up the famous court last summer as she lifted the Venus Rosewater Dish was nowhere to be seen.
Muguruza looked a little weary as she congratulated Broady at the net and then signed autographs courtside.
Even when she spoke of her reaction to the occasion to the BBC, the Spaniard was muted.
Perhaps it was not just tiredness, but relief. Six Grand Slam winners have bitten the dust in the opening round since the game went open, including Steffi Graf at Wimbledon in 1994.
Or maybe it was the thought of what lies ahead.
She faces an “incredible” journey in order to retain the trophy and it takes a special kind of player to do it.
Just look at the five who have succeeded – Billie-Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Graf, sisters Serena and Venus Willams.
It would be some company to keep.