Without Rafa, Muguruza flies Wimbledon flag for Spain

Sun Jun 26, 2016 9:39am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Ian Chadband

(Reuters) - Wimbledon will naturally miss an old favorite with Rafael Nadal sidelined by injury yet Garbine Muguruza, armed with her sunny demeanor and blistering talent, seems perfectly happy and equipped to fill the void left by her great Spanish compatriot.

Donning a replica Spanish football team shirt and beaming the big smile that lit up Wimbledon last year when she reached the final, Muguruza did her bit on Saturday to remind everyone that Spain has a new superstar with the charisma to emulate Nadal.

Not that the new French Open champion could quite credit the fact that she was grabbing all the headlines back home rather than the man she idolized while growing up in Barcelona.

After Nadal pulled out of the French Open with the wrist injury that has now prevented him shooting for a third Wimbledon title, Muguruza flew the flag with her stunning victory over Serena Williams in the Roland Garros final.

So entering Wimbledon, the Spanish media spotlight, usually beamed at Nadal, is trained completely on their 22-year-old Venezuelan-born heroine.

"I thought about that the other day when I saw Rafa was not playing (at Wimbledon)," Muguruza smiled at a news conference at Wimbledon on Saturday.

"For sure, people are looking more at what I'm doing but I think that's fine. It's a good sign. I like it.

"I was so happy finally this year. I'm like 'I did better than Nadal in French Open! This is so weird!'"   Continued...

Britain Tennis - Wimbledon Preview - All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, Wimbledon, England - 26/6/16
Spain's Garbine Muguruza during practice
Reuters / Paul Childs