Pop into the delis of Wimbledon Village this summer and you might just encounter Garbiñe Muguruza, canvas bag in hand, doing her grocery shopping.
Amid all the pressures of defending the Wimbledon title she won for the first time last season, the Spaniard takes pleasure in shopping and cooking for herself and her team in the house she is renting near the All England Club. Such domestic duties are routine for most. But for Muguruza, who spends so many weeks of the year on the road in hotel suites, playing Wimbledon offers her the opportunity to have a more 'normal' existence. Walking to the shops is a rare treat in the middle of a tournament.
"I like cooking when I’m in the house. I also like going to the shops and shopping for the food. Maybe for most people that feels very normal – shopping and cooking at home – but for me that’s something I really like to do," Muguruza said in an exclusive interview with wtatennis.com.
There is simply no need, Muguruza said, for her to put on a disguise when she goes shopping.
"I’ll go to little places, little shops, in Wimbledon Village and maybe sometimes people come up to me and say hello and talk to me, but they are always polite and pleasant so that’s great."
Sharing a house with her team makes for a more social, enjoyable tournament, which might just translate into a relaxed mindset that allows Muguruza to play her best lawn tennis. “You go into a hotel room, you close the door, and that’s it, you’re on your own. But in my house during Wimbledon, I’m together with my team. I’m travelling for so many weeks of the year, staying in hotel rooms, so it’s nice to stay in a house, that makes a nice change."
Winning Wimbledon has had a greater impact on Muguruza than when she landed her first major at the 2016 French Open.
“The best bit about being the Wimbledon champion is being a part of history, and seeing all those names on the board, and being a part of that. This is a tournament that I have been watching since I was a girl. I have my Wimbledon trophy in a special place, alongside my French Open trophy. Being a Wimbledon champion has maybe had more impact than being the French Open champion as more people around the world know more about Wimbledon," she said.
Muguruza doesn't need to rewatch the video of last summer's final against Venus Williams, to remind herself of what she is capable of on Centre Court, as she remembers that July afternoon so clearly.
"One of the moments that stands out for me is walking out from the locker-room and on to the grass to play, as I was in another Wimbledon final [she was the runner-up to Serena Williams in 2015)," she said. "And of course I won't ever forget the match point and lifting the trophy. I haven’t watched a video of the whole match, and I don’t think I will before Wimbledon, as I’ve also seen the highlights from the final."
One of the perks of winning Wimbledon is that you become a member of the All England Club, which means you can drop by for tea and sandwiches whenever you please. But such is the busy life of an elite tennis player, Muguruza hasn't yet had a free afternoon to make the most of her membership, and perhaps to sit in an empty Centre Court and reflect on her accomplishment.
"As a member of the All England Club, you can come for tea, but I don’t have time to do that, as you’re in the middle of the season with a busy calendar and there’s no time to sit around drinking tea and eating sandwiches," she said. "But that's something I can look forward to doing in the future when I have a bit more time."