Muguruza tempers expectations, hopes not to choke in 2016

Sat Jan 16, 2016 9:20pm EST
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By Greg Stutchbury

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Garbine Muguruza is doing her best to stay grounded ahead of the Australian Open after a breakout 2015 season brought a wave of attention and suggestions that she was a grand slam champion in waiting.

The 22-year-old Spaniard won her second career title last year, advanced to her first grand slam final at Wimbledon and moved up the rankings to a career-best third in the world.

She also made the semi-finals of the season-ending WTA Championships in Singapore, where she acknowledged that other players of her generation had been touted as 'the next big thing' only to have a poor follow-up season to a breakout year.

"I think everybody's expecting like to see, 'hey, do better, win that, win the other one,'" Muguruza, who plays Estonia's Anett Kontaveit in the first round on Tuesday, told reporters at Melbourne Park.

"But I think it's going to be a really hard year for me because I've never been in a situation (like this).

"Also, I'm like, 'how I'm going to deal with all these new things?' I'm actually very curious about how I'm going to feel myself when I go to the court, if I'm going to be able to be there, not think about so many things.

"I think my goal is to be calm, not get like this," she added while making a choking gesture.

Muguruza impressed with her power last year and gave Serena Williams a scare in the fourth round at Melbourne Park when she won the first set 6-2 before the American got into gear.   Continued...

Tennis - BNP Paribas WTA Finals - Singapore Indoor Stadium, Singapore Sports Hub - 31/10/15
Spain's Garbine Muguruza celebrates winning the first set during her semi final match
Action Images via Reuters / Jeremy Lee