BRISBANE, Australia - Garbiñe Muguruza is ready for the ball to drop on 2017. The French Open champion spoke to reporters on New Year's Eve at the Brisbane International, and she made it clear that she's put her rollercoaster 2016 season behind her.
"I didn't even think about it," the World No.7 said during her All Access Hour press conference on Saturday, when asked for her thoughts on last season. "All I'm thinking now is about 2017. There were some very good moments in 2016, very bad too. I think every year is like this. It is true that there was a lot of difference in 2016 but I don't want to think about that anymore."
Perspective has been an important lesson for the 23-year-old, who has had to grapple with the weight of expectation over the last 12 months. Her potential is stratospheric, as she proved in her dominant run to the Roland Garros title last season, but her consistency was elusive. She's not the first young player to struggle to find that balance and she won't be the last. Muguruza believes those experiences have made her better equipped to manage the weekly pressures on tour.
"I think every year, when you're younger everything sounds like a drama," she said. "You look at everything like life or death. With the time you realize it's not at all like this and you start laughing more at those moments. I think it's more about that.
"Every year that goes through I'm more calm, less dramatic. The feelings are not new anymore. When you're not playing well, when you're playing really good, you just know how to handle yourself a little bit more."
Muguruza's 2016 was an emotional one, a season that saw her start at No.3 and overcome a slow start to win her maiden major, then struggle to find her game, finishing at No.7. But she ended her season on a positive note, winning 12 of the last 13 games she played en route to a win over Svetlana Kuznetsova at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.
After a two-week break, Muguruza was back on court during the off-season, opting to switch things up by doing her pre-season work in Southern California, where her coach Sam Sumyk is based.
"I did like five weeks of pre-season, like general pre-season," Muguruza said. "It went pretty good. It was a very nice place and I think it was good to just reset and train hard."
Muguruza has rocketed up the rankings over the last two seasons, having made her first Slam final in 2015 at Wimbledon and then breaking through in Paris. So how do you follow up a season that saw you secure a career-defining title? As she enters the 2017 season, Muguruza has chosen to keep her expectations modest.
"I just want to go out there and see what happens," she said. "I have honestly no expectations because anything can happen. That's my mindset. Very simple."
- Photos courtesy of Getty Images