The Spaniard enjoyed an impressive 2017, winning at the All England Club to add a second Grand Slam crown to the one she earned in Paris a year earlier. By beating Serena Williams to win the 2016 French Open and then Venus to win Wimbledon, she became the first player to defeat both Williams’ sisters in Grand Slam singles finals.
Last season she also won the Cincinnati title with victory over then-world No. 1 Karolina Pliskova in the semis and No. 2 Simona Halep in the final, and after the US Open she claimed the No. 1 ranking herself.
Her trip to Australia this year was not as successful, however, as she was hampered by an abductor muscle injury in Brisbane and Sydney and blisters at the Australian Open. But after a period back in Europe to rest and recover, she is ready to get back to winning ways. And despite her occasional setbacks, Muguruza loves life as a tennis professional.
“The best part is the travel, going to incredible places and playing in front of thousands of people in big arenas,” she said. “It’s a healthy life to be a professional athlete. I like to be in these situations and maybe it’s strange, but I like to be out on the edge where you’re nervous, excited, even a little bit afraid.
“I want to keep playing big finals, and fighting again for the number one spot. There’s nothing to be afraid of and nothing to hide from. I want to have the toughest goals because I’ve been there and that helps me believe I can be there again.”
As well as her two titles last year Muguruza reached five semi-finals as well as four quarter-finals, and she will be one of the toughest players to beat when play gets underway next week.
The challengers in Dubai include five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova, double Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber, two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova, and this year’s Australian Open runner-up Simona Halep, as well as Karolina Pliskova, Elina Svitolina, Madison Keys, Kristina Mladenovic, and Ashleigh Barty.
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