Garbine Muguruza has told her parents they must stay in Barcelona to avoid upsetting her focus as she heads into the Wimbledon final against Serena Williams today.
The first-time grand slam finalist has marched impressively through the rounds without father Jose Antonio and mother Scarlet at courtside.
And although she says today’s showpiece will be “the best day of my tennis career”, she wants the situation to remain unchanged, meaning the parents who have encouraged her since the age of three to play the game will be watching on television.
It creates the possibility of there being a repeat of what occurred after the 2004 final, when Maria Sharapova beat Williams and went straight to her bag to pick out her mobile phone in an attempt – a vain attempt as it happened – to call mother Yelena and share the moment.
“My parents, they’re going to be in Barcelona watching me from the TV. I don’t want to change anything, but I’m not superstitious,” Muguruza said.
Coming from a player who yesterday said that during Wimbledon “I brush my teeth at the same time. I get out of bed with the same leg”, the protests that she is not superstitious probably came too late to be credible.
What Muguruza is, unquestionably, is confident.
The Venezuela-born 21-year-old is convinced her win over Williams during last year’s French Open will be eating away at the 20-time grand slam winner, creating uncertainty in the mind of the 33-year-old who is chasing down not only a sixth Wimbledon singles title, but a ‘Serena Slam’ and the third leg of a calendar grand slam.
Should Williams win, she will hold all four majors at the same time for the second time in her extraordinary professional career that was cranking into gear while Muguruza was still in nappies. A victory for the Spaniard would be a monumental upset, but she got the better of their contest at Roland Garros in May 2014, a 6-2 6-2 victory.
Williams cites that result as the shock to the system which has spurred her remarkable title-winning run since, but Muguruza sees it another way, and considers it still relevant ahead of their Centre Court reunion. “It’s really important because it makes you see and realise that she’s also a person. She also has feelings. She also gets nervous,” Muguruza said. “She knows that I can win against her, that I’m not afraid. I don’t think she’s really used to this. Serena, she doesn’t lose so many matches in the year. I think it’s important.”
Muguruza intends to be aggressive, which is her natural game and overwhelmed Agnieszka Radwanska for large parts of their semi-final.
And the Spanish Fed Cup player has vowed to savour the occasion, win or lose, against an opponent she said was “an inspiration” during her childhood.
“I used to dream about it and now it’s happening. It’s amazing,” Muguruza said.
“It’s what I’ve worked for. It’s the best. Now I’m feeling that all my effort, all the work that I did before, it’s paying off.
“I’m going to enjoy [today]. It’s going to be the best day of my tennis career. If I win it’s going to be much better.”
Williams, meanwhile, insists “I don’t need another Wimbledon” despite inching ever closer to her first calendar grand slam.
Muguruza was just five when Williams claimed her maiden major title at the 1999 US Open.
Williams believes staying “relaxed” about “the obvious” – her way of referencing the calendar slam bid after banning all talk – has fuelled her three consecutive grand slam successes.
Top seed Williams must win Wimbledon then defend her US Open crown to complete her first calendar slam, but claims “it’s not as stressful” since matching Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert’s 18 major titles.
“I’ve won so many grand slam titles,” said Williams, who boasts 20 major triumphs, “and I’m at a position where I don’t need to win another Wimbledon.
“I could lose. Sure, I won’t be happy but I don’t need another Wimbledon title.
“I don’t need another US Open. I don’t need any titles to make it.
“Every time I step out on court, the practice court, the match court, I do look at it as a more fun time because it’s not as stressful as it was.
“Getting to 18 was super stressful for me. It was fun, but I was so stressed out.
“After that, I’ve just been really enjoying myself.”