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January 15, 2022

Garbine Muguruza

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Could you tell us how you're feeling headed into the first slam of the year. You had a strong close to 2021. How has that helped your preparation?

GARBINE MUGURUZA: Well, excited. Of course, it's the first slam of the year. It's a slam that I've played well recently. Looking forward to be on those courts.

Yeah, just came from Sydney with preparing -- a tournament preparation for here. I got to play a couple of matches. Yeah, everything is good.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. The off-season was short. How long does it take you to feel refreshed?

GARBINE MUGURUZA: Yeah, I feel like it was the longest season I played. Every time you make it to the Masters, you know it's going to be short.

But I think I really focused on getting the needed rest because you're not losing your tennis. I think you prioritize getting back the energy, refresh the mindset and everything.

It's been also tough year with everything that we've all gone through. Just keep training. I skipped Adelaide. I normally like to play the first tournament of the year, but I felt like in these circumstances why not go to Sydney. Adapting really to every week to what I feel.

Q. The world seems to be focused on one tennis story at the moment about Novak Djokovic. How do you feel about that overshadowing the whole Australian Open? What do you think it will do to Novak's legacy and the sport of tennis?

GARBINE MUGURUZA: Yeah, I feel like every time I'm in the press conference this question gets asked. I answered in Sydney.

I think it's taking long. I think we all want to move on, whatever it is, move on and focus on the cool aspect of starting a slam.

I, yeah, think all this could have been avoided, like we've all done, by getting vaccinated, doing all the things we had to do to come here in Australia. Everybody knew very clearly the rules. You just have to follow them and that's it. I don't think it's that difficult.

Q. Do you think it affects the average person's opinion of international tennis players?

GARBINE MUGURUZA: Yes. I don't think that this would help the tennis world or the players because at the end it's a little bit of conflict all the time.

I think, again, yeah, it's already difficult enough to make the tournaments work and to make the WTA and ATP circuit happen going country by country to be creating, yeah, all of this news, quite a lot.

Q. I detect a bit of frustration in your voice. Is it a bit frustrating that most of the tennis players followed the rules but doesn't seem that Novak has and as a result has put a bit of a shadow on the tournament?

GARBINE MUGURUZA: No, I'm zero frustrated. I'm just, like everybody else, watching what's happening. At the end it's nothing related to me. I'm focusing on my tournament. This is so far from my thoughts.

But, yeah, I think we all want to move on from this and just focus on the good part. We have crowd again this year. We are playing. Who is going to win the tournament? All of that. I feel like this is already taking too long.

Q. Have you had the time this year to go around Melbourne, if you've been Melbourne, your thoughts about the city.

GARBINE MUGURUZA: No, I haven't. No, not this year. I mean, if you want to be safe and you want to be secure, put all your chances of not getting COVID and stuff, you have to be careful and not maybe go to crowded places. You can go for walks and stuff.

Yeah, extra careful this year that I do the right things. I don't know. I'm not really this year thinking about doing a lot of sightseeing with all the cases here that is happening.

Q. As a tennis player you're an employer in a way, you hire people, can fire people, pay salaries. How have you found that over your career, the challenges of that?

GARBINE MUGURUZA: Well, the challenge? I think the challenge, it's also being an individual sport, it's very tough, especially when you're starting. Of course, you have to find resources to maintain your team and to be your own little company.

I felt the hardest was to hire people to tell you what to do, to be humble, to say if I look for the best team, the best coach, I have to listen to what they say even if I am the owner of this boat. I hire a captain that is going to guide it.

When you're young, you're a little bit, like hmm, all of these things. Then you just know how it works, the whys, all of that. Yeah, I think that's a little challenge.

Q. Was there a part of your career where you started to feel like you got it more?

GARBINE MUGURUZA: I think naturally you start to become less - I don't know - emotional with everything in general, not just tennis. Like traveling, having this lifestyle, results, matches, all of that. Every year that pass by, you are more calm and settled in the tour.

Yeah, I think it's like a natural boring maturity you get when you're getting older (smiling).

Q. A few years ago you made it to the final here. Coming back to this arena, what kind of emotions do you get? Making it so far, does that give you motivation to try to win the thing this year?

GARBINE MUGURUZA: Yeah, I feel a lot of emotions when I step into the Rod Laver court because I was very close of having this Grand Slam in my pocket, if that makes sense.

I guess I'll have to try and try as many times as I can. But I'm excited. It gives me the certainty that I can do it. Also the year which I reached the final was a very tough physical year for me because I got so sick, whole story. But I made it.

Yeah, why not do it again? Of course, it's complicated. You have to put so many things together. You know how it is, it's hard.

But I've done it and I believe more than ever that I can do it again.

Q. Have you heard there's going to be a tennis version of 'Drive to Survive', the Netflix series. Have you ever watched 'Drive to Survive'? Do you think it will be a good idea for tennis? Would you take part in it?

GARBINE MUGURUZA: Yes, I've watched 'Drive to Survive'. I think it's a great idea. I feel like tennis needs that as well for the fans to see the inside. I think it's a great exposure.

Yes, I'm in talks with them to see how it can happen, how it works. I feel like tennis also being an individual sport is not as simple, yeah, to find everyone a little bit.

Yeah, I can't wait to see how this develops, to see how they're doing, to see how that affects in our lives, in the players' area. I'm interested to see how they're going to do in tennis. I think it's a great idea.

Q. With the Formula 1 version, there's a lot of controversy every episode. That's what makes it dramatic. Are you worried how that can pan out in tennis?

GARBINE MUGURUZA: Well, yes, I feel like when you make a docuseries like this or TV show, I mean, the people want to see the drama and they want to see the moments where you have a tear, the moments where it's frustrating. People I think don't want to see us doing elastics in the gym.

It's also something that every player feels different about it, to show these little intimate moments, others want to show, they don't care. This is our lives, they're okay with it. I think it's going to be very personal.

I think it's important to find out with them what they want to show, what's their idea, before saying yes to everything, maybe feeling like, Oh, maybe I didn't want to show that side of me.

Q. You said in the past, and all Grand Slam champions have this feeling of I've done it before, I can do it again. You're coming off of a great season, end of the season. Going into the Australian Open this year, is that belief the same as it's always been or even higher?

GARBINE MUGURUZA: No, I don't think it's even higher because I won a tournament and that all of a sudden gives me... No.

I think I've always had that belief. I think always believing so strongly in myself whether I was playing good or less good, is what make me just be at the highest level for so many years.

I feel like something that people that don't play tennis have trouble to understand is no matter how good you are, you always have doubts if you can do it again or not. Even if you won 10 Grand Slams, sometimes that creates even more doubts about analyzing everything, am I ready, is this going to be the same way, I don't want to change anything.

Sometimes it gives you a certainty and a character, it builds you different if you have those Grand Slams. At the same time we have the same doubts as everybody else when it comes down to going in the court and feeling like I have a match, if the other one plays good, I can go home as well.

Q. With the Beijing Olympics coming up, so much attention the last few months about Peng Shuai, what are your thoughts about her today? What information has been disseminated by the WTA or any other source over the last few weeks?

GARBINE MUGURUZA: I feel like this is something that I think the WTA has done great. I think they've showed a lot of courage and character by supporting these and taking these strong decisions. I think it's great. I think it's something that we should all like, Man, that was a bold move.

Are we going to know something about this? I don't know. I think it's a complicated country to deal with. Also the way they communicate, culturally.

Yes, it's a little bit not moving forward I feel. It's just there since months and months. I don't know. I don't know what to say about this really. We've talked about it. It seemed like for a moment, like, Okay, we're going to find out what's happening. I think it's going to be very difficult to find a real truth and for her to be able to free talk.

I don't know what's happening, what's the issue there.

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