Dubai: Two-time Grand Slam champion and 2020 Australian Open finalist Garbine Muguruza has received a wild card and will join the stellar field that competes next week in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
The Spaniard, who won the French Open in 2016 and followed up with a Wimbledon triumph in 2017, made a stunning run to the final of the Australian Open last month but was denied a third Grand Slam crown in a dramatic battle with Sofia Kenin.
That spectacular march to the final included victories over two-time Dubai winner Elina Svitolina and reigning Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, and it took an heroic effort from feisty American Kenin to stop her adding to her collection of Grand Slam trophies. All three of those players will also be in Dubai.
Muguruza has sometimes struggled with consistency and she ended last year ranked a modest 36. Her success in Melbourne though returned her to the top 20 and her best ranking in almost a year.
“I think it’s a great start of the year, for sure,” she said. “I don’t think at all about the previous years — even the good ones or the bad ones. I feel like, ‘What for?’ I got the best out of it, good or bad. I just started a new year. I have a new team. I didn’t disappear. I was there. Not reaching final rounds, for sure. I’m just going to a tournament, see how far I can go.”
Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free added: “Garbine Muguruza performed magnificently in Melbourne and came very close to adding to her collection of Grand Slam titles, and it is with great pleasure that we welcome her back to Dubai,” said. “This will be her sixth consecutive time here and she has twice been a semi-finalist. We look forward with great interest to see how she fares here next week.”
Muguruza joins a fantastic field that includes the eagerly anticipated return of tennis Hall of Famer Kim Clijsters, as well as Dubai defending champion Belinda Bencic and recent Brisbane winner Karolina Pliskova.
The tournament will also include Qiang Wang, who just last month stunned Serena Williams in the third round of the Australian Open after already reaching the quarter-finals of the Shenzhen Open. She is joined by Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova who also enjoyed a successful run in Melbourne, reaching the quarter-finals after defeating world number 2 Karolina Pliskova and then three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber, before her run was ended by Muguruza.
“Garbine has been ranked as high as No. 1 in the world and is clearly once again playing at the very top of her game,” said Tournament Director Salah Tahlak. “In the 20th year of the WTA event in Dubai, we can all look forward to seeing if she can become our 14th ladies champion in what is certain to be a fascinating week.”
The tournament begins with the 20th anniversary celebrations of the WTA event which runs from February 17 to 22 and then continues between February 24 and 29 with the ATP tournament which features reigning Wimbledon and Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic, eight-time Dubai winner Roger Federer, 2019 ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas and 2018 Dubai winner Roberto Bautista Agut.
Tickets are available at www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com