Garbiñe Muguruza cited a simple approach aiding her first Madrid win in four years.
Healing power helped Garbiñe Muguruza earn her first Madrid win in four years.
Playing her first match since Indian Wells, Muguruza saved seven of nine break points overcoming Australian No. 1 Ajla Tomljanovic 7-5, 6-2 in her Mutua Madrid Open opener.
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It was Muguruza's first Madrid win since she defeated Donna Vekic en route to the 2018 round of 16, which remains her best performance in seven prior appearances at the Magic Box.
A left shoulder injury pained Muguruza at Indian Wells. She said taking a break to fully heal was the best remedy.
"I felt like I needed it because I was training a lot, and my body was not really taking on the training," Muguruza told the media in Madrid. "It was one pain here, one pain there. It was accumulation of pain.
"So I said, you know what? I told my team, I think we should take 10 days at least off so I get to recover naturally my body."
Putting her racquet down gave her body proper time to repair—and permitted Muguruza to focus on preparing for clay season.
"As soon as I stopped playing, my shoulder start healing, my leg, my back, everything start to be where it should," Muguruza said. "I said, I think we should focus more this year on clay court. It was a natural feeling. You know, also the schedule, it's pretty intense.
"So I felt, you know, nothing's going to happen if I skip one or two tournaments if after I'm gonna come back and feel better."
While Muguruza grew up training on clay, her 2016 Roland Garros crown remains her lone-clay court tile in her collection of 10 career championships.
The seventh-seeded Spaniard faces 37th-ranked Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinina, who beat Sloane Stephens, next.
Muguruza concedes self-imposed pressure to perform her best in front of home fans—combined with the city's higher altitude which can pose problems controlling her flat drives—are among the reasons she's struggled in Madrid. After improving to 6-7 lifetime at the Mutua Madrid Open, Muguruza said she's taking a new approach this week.
"I think that I all the time thought that being the only tournament in Spain is, you know, it's a lot of pressure, because you only have one opportunity to really shine," Muguruza said. "You know, this year I said, you know what, the opposite, I'm here, it's a great tournament.
"Just go out there, play your best tennis and whatever happens happens instead of just putting that baggage, you know, in my back all the time."
Photo credit: Mutua Madrid Open Facebook