From the news

Muguruza Eyeing Higher Heights In 2016

  • ontennis
  • 30 December 2015
  • 10:12

As the youngest player in the Top 10, 22-year-old Garbiñe Muguruza is embracing her role as the future of tennis.

She's dodged the dreaded second season syndrome and rattled off win after win against top players en route to her first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon, won her second career title at Beijing and challenged the world's best at the WTA Finals.

On top of all that, the World No.3 has won the full backing of her home country: she's Spain's top pick for the 2016 Rio Olympics - where she's tipped to play doubles with Carla Suárez Navarro and ATP player Rafael Nadal - and she's been awarded the Bronze Medal of Royal Order of Sports Merit by the Spanish government.

"This year has been a great experience for me," Muguruza said before the WTA Finals began. "Hopefully it can help me next year, especially in the tough moments like the ones that I've lived this year, to go through."

Those "tough moments" are going to be Muguruza's biggest challenges to overcome in the new year. The Spaniard's 2015 was marked by seasons of success punctuated by long stretches where she was unable to win two matches in a row - from Doha to Madrid and again from Toronto to Tokyo.

The most important lesson Muguruza can take away from this year is the knowledge that she can dig herself out of those slumps and find her game again.

"I learned that in bad situations, I'm able to calm down, clear my mind and start from zero," Muguruza said. "I learned that I'm stronger than I thought in these moments."

Muguruza will kick off the year in Brisbane, joining the Premier-level event's stacked field that includes fellow Top 10 players Simona Halep, Maria Sharapova and Angelique Kerber.

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