World number three Garbine Muguruza blamed Covid-19 for her early exit from the Australian Open Thursday, revealing her entire team had been struck down in the lead-up to the tournament, hampering her preparations. The 2020 runner-up at Melbourne Park was widely seen as a serious contender for the first Grand Slam of the year after a stellar season where she won in Chicago and Dubai before clinching the WTA finals. But, after a comfortable first-round win, she was stunned 6-3, 6-3 by French veteran Alize Cornet at the second hurdle.
Spain’s Muguruza, who won the French Open in 2016 and Wimbledon a year later before a form slump, said her preparations had been hit hard by coronavirus.
“It’s been a pretty stressful start of the year also with my team. They all got Covid before coming here. We were, like, for 15 days apart,” she said.
“It was hard for me for the preparation to come to the Aussie swing and play and perform well. That was tricky a little bit. Physically here I wasn’t also feeling my best.”
Muguruza said with her team isolating she had to train by herself for a fortnight and while that normally doesn’t bother her, it was not ideal in the pre-season.
“It’s a tricky part of the year also. The pre-season, the start of the season, you are doing the last touches. You kind of want to continue working. That threw me a little bit off,” she said.
“Although I had time here to prepare and everything, yeah, I think the combination of everything I think didn’t help me.”
Muguruza struggled with her serve against Cornet and hit 33 unforced errors, a performance that surprised her.
“It’s a tough day. My serve wasn’t there, I think my shots weren’t there also. Tactically I think I wasn’t doing the right decisions either,” she said.
“On top of that she played very well, very solid game.”