DOHA, QATAR - World No.4 Garbiñe Muguruza is ready to return to action his week at the Qatar Total Open and she's excited about her new addition, announcing this week that 1994 Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez would be joining her team for the next four hardcourt tournaments.
"It's a little bit of a new experience for me," Muguruza told reporters ahead of the Qatar Total Open, which begins on Monday. "Conchita and I, we've known each other since I was little and she's always been a little bit in the shadow, you know, helping me here and there. And of course, everybody saw me and her in Wimbledon and we had the best success possible."
Martinez, who reached a career-high ranking of No.2 in 1995 and finished her career with 33 WTA singles titles, served as Spain's Fed Cup captain from 2013 until the fall of last year. When Muguruza's long-time coach Sam Sumyk was unable to attend Wimbledon last summer, Martinez stepped in to help guide the 24-year-old to her first Wimbledon title and second major title overall.
"I always got along with her very good and I thought that it might be a good idea to have her in the next couple of tournaments, into Miami. Just to share more and have this new experience. I was looking for this experience. Sam is continuing as my main coach, but I think it's going to be interesting."
"I think she's a very calm person. And she has a lot of experience. This is not easy to find and it isn't easy also to be in this difficult competitive environment and to get along with somebody very good. I feel I have an amazing team and I think I have one of the best coaches in the tour, which is Sam. And now [I have] also some experience that is going to help me, 'the Conchita mind'. So yeah, I think it's good."
Muguruza will be looking to get her 2018 season on track in Doha, after a frustrating start of the season in Australia. Muguruza was forced to retire from her first match of the season in Brisbane due to cramping, but was able to shake off the scare to earn her first win of 2018 in Sydney, defeating Kiki Bertens in straight sets. After a disappointing second-round exit from the Australian Open at the crafty hands of eventual quarterfinalist Hsieh Su-Wei, Muguruza refused to let the dust gather on her racquet bag. Scorching tennis balls for a few hours was the only therapy she needed.
"I went back to Switzerland, and I actually went pretty fast [back on] court," Muguruza said. "I did a lot of tennis, actually. I wanted to forget a little bit how the first part of the season went, and I felt [I wanted] to just spend hours on the court. I had a lot of training and preparation."
Muguruza has a bye into the second round and will open against either Ons Jabeur or a qualifier. The Spaniard, who is 2-3 on the season so far, is looking to find some traction in the Middle East. Her best result in Doha came with a quarterfinal run in 2016.