Muguruza, Nadal could team up in Rio

By on December 27, 2015

Garbine Muguruza will kick-off her season at the Brisbane International. Picture: Darren

Garbine Muguruza will kick-off her season at the Brisbane International. Picture: Darren England Source: Darren England / News Corp Australia

WORLD No. 3 Garbine Muguruza’s 2016 ambitions include a maiden Grand Slam title and a mooted Olympic Games mixed doubles campaign for Spain with Rafael Nadal.

Muguruza, the second seed for next week’s Brisbane International, is ready to build on a 2015 season in which the fast-rising Spaniard beat seven different top-10 women.

With Olympic tennis gaining interest in the playing ranks which it once did not have, Nadal, the gold medallist in the men’s singles at the 2008 Olympics, has said he wants to play for three medals at the Rio Games in August.

Conchita Martinez, captain of both the Spanish Davis Cup team and Fed Cup side, said yesterday she would like to see Nadal and Muguruza team up at the 2016 Olympic Games as their country’s highest-ranked singles players.

But in an indication of how carefully players have to plan their seasons with an Olympic campaign dropped in between Wimbledon and the American hardcourt circuit, Muguruza and world No. 13 Carla Suarez Navarro will not play doubles together in Brisbane or Melbourne.

The Spanish duo will focus on singles in Australia before resuming their doubles association, good enough to qualify them for the WTA finals this year, later in the year. They are expected to play doubles at the Rio Olympics.

Muguruza, a tall right-hander, has progressed from No. 104 to fourth in the rankings during the past three years, with her 2014 French Open drubbing of Serena Williams fast-tracking her career.

“In tennis everything is so fast,” she said.

“Two years ago I was hardly in the top 100. In so short a time, I’m here (top five).

“But it happens so many times. People, suddenly you see them on top, you don’t see them, then you see them again. I think sports is like this. You have to try to be more consistent.

“It’s my dream to win a Grand Slam. You always work for it, but it’s very difficult.”

Garbine Muguruza is a rising star of women’s tennis. Picture: Michael Klein

Garbine Muguruza is a rising star of women’s tennis. Picture: Michael Klein Source: News Corp Australia

Rafael Nadal in action during the 2015 Australian Open. Picture: Jake Nowakowski

Rafael Nadal in action during the 2015 Australian Open. Picture: Jake Nowakowski Source: News Corp Australia

The 22-year-old, the youngest woman in the top-10 by two years and one month, even negotiated a mini-slump after her Wimbledon final loss to Williams, making the final of one Chinese tournament and winning a second there.

Muguruza hired coach Sam Sumyk for those two tournaments and has since extended to 2016 her employment of the former coach of Victoria Azarenka and Eugenie Bouchard.

Her top-10 scalps this year were Agnieska Radwanska (three times), Angelique Kerber (twice), world No. 2 Simona Halep, dual Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, French Open runner-up Lucie Safarova and former world No. 1 players Ana Ivanovic and Caroline Wozniacki.

“When there’s only two more (ranked) in front of me. It feels good. It feels that you’re doing in a right way your thing,’’ Muguruza said.

Halep, coached by Australian Darren Cahill, is the top women’s seed for the Brisbane International.

Most of the seeded players will arrive later this week to practice at the Queensland Tennis Centre.

Brisbane-bound Roger Federer’s Twitter feed shows that he was hitting in Dubai as recently as December 23 with Sergiy Stakhovsky, the Ukrainian best known for upsetting Federer in the second round at Wimbledon in 2013.


FOXSPORTS.com.au | Tennis

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