Garbiñe Muguruza: “Pressure is a privilege”

The year 2020 is coming to an end. The strangest, also for a world tennis star like Garbiñe Muguruza. As talented as she is sometimes burdened by a certain irregularity, at 27 she can boast of having reached number 1 in the world and of having a track record that alone would justify a career, but she still has many years of the best tennis ahead of her. and also faces them with a renewed spirit. It is not easy to play with the pressure of being a winner of Roland Garros and Wimbledon, the two tournaments every tennis player dreamed of, but almost a decade at the highest level forges a special character. Pressure is a privilege. When you go out to play and feel like you have to do well and that it is an important tournament, it is better. That responsibility of having trained hard and being ready … I prefer to see myself as a possible champion in each tournament I play, “she answers with determination when asked about the weight of her own career.

After an atypical 2020, its balance is positive despite the feeling is that the stoppage caused by the pandemic stopped an excellent progression after joining its path to that of another legend of Spanish women’s tennis, Conchita Martinez, as a coach. At the beginning of the year he reached the final of the first Grand Slam of the season, the Australian Open, before covid-19 made its appearance. «It has been a strange year, with a lot of uncertainty. It is clear that it started very well and then there was a kind of hiatus, a kind of new life for us. I am always traveling a lot. Now looking for more tranquility, entertain myself in some way and stay active doing other things. I always bring out the positive side of everything bad and I have taken the opportunity to explore new things», He recalls, putting in value that of stopping to be able to continue with more force, more in a sport as global as tennis,

The idea of ​​exploring new horizons is demonstrated by accepting the challenge of sharing a stove with the chef Paco Roncero, one of the greatest exponents of Spanish avant-garde cuisine. Together with the Madrilenian, the Spanish tennis player of Venezuelan origin delves into her culinary interests and prepares a Christmas menu based on a first dish of thistle with chestnuts, followed by a capon filled with nuts and mushrooms, all of which culminated in a special tiramisu named Muguruza by the cook. «I have always been interested in cooking because my mother liked it and her dream was to have a restaurant. The healthy food It is a big part of my life because I live from my body and I always say that it is my formula 1, that’s why I have to give it quality and healthy food. It has been a super experience to cook a Christmas dish because also I always travel on these dates and I never know what the traditional Christmas dish is. I have finally seen it and also healthy ”, she explains, excited about the opportunity and proud of the result of the effort put into a menu that is clearly palatable.

Used to playing in the most important scenarios of the world, before thousands of spectators, the soulless sensation of two greats as the US Open y Roland Garros, which this season were played behind closed doors or with little public presence and on very different dates from the usual ones in New York and Paris, Muguruza graphically describes what it meant to play under these conditions: “It was really difficult because we are used to playing with public, which gives us the spark, life and nervousness. Entering an empty stadium is a challenge because you miss that people’s energy who comes to see you and is part of the show.

«An Olympic year is always very special. Lifting a trophy is the greatest feeling possible and I always aim for it.

Gone is 2020, a year that should be Olympic and it was not. Except for surprise the Tokyo Games Yes, they will arrive in the summer of 2021 and that is precisely the great goal for any athlete, also for Muguruza, excited about what would be her second olympic experience after the round of 16 in the women’s individual tournament in Rio 2016, but he also does not give up anything in all the big tournaments. «An Olympic year is always very special. It was last year but it had to be postponed so I hope this year can be organized. It is difficult to set a goal when there is so much uncertainty. Only play the important tournaments and lift the important trophies. Lifting a trophy is the highest possible sensation and I always have it as my goal, “he describes, with the emotion of someone who knows what it is to lift the most important titles.

«Strength and courage because this is something that is affecting us all, it is not an evil of just one person. It is a challenge and things will change because the bad does not last forever “, finally transmits as a Christmas message and hope for a 2020 that is presented loaded with challenges. For starters, in Abu Dhabi in the first days of the year, before traveling to Australia to face the WTA tournaments prior to the first big date of the season, that Australian Open from which only Sofia Kenin separated her last year.

Paco Roncero: «We have to cook for the client and not for the guides»

Difficult better travel companion when tackling the preparation of a Christmas menu than chef Paco Roncero, a two Michelin star and the ideal teacher to cultivate Garbiñe Muguruza’s taste for cooking. Along with the tennis player, the Madrid chef evaluates a particularly complex 2020 in the hospitality sector: «I like to say that in these cases we have not reinvented ourselves, but rather that we have adapted to the situation and have been able to generate our own around projects and concepts that save our lives, that serve to minimize losses and be in the spotlight. However, it is true that in the sector we are having a very bad time. In Madrid we have been fortunate that they have allowed us to remain open but colleagues from other communities are having a very bad time because they have had their restaurants closed by force ».

Despite the difficulty, Roncero shares with Muguruza optimism and the desire to improve in the face of adversity: «This is something so difficult and the situation is so new that in the end the improvisation of taking measures as events unfold makes us in this situation. Anyway, I think like Garbiñe, you have to get the positive side of things and it has helped us to readjust our businesses and to improve them in many ways. A new range of restaurants has been opened, with a high-end ‘delivery’ in which, at more or less affordable prices for the whole world, each one of the chefs has been making our first steps. It seems easy but it is not.

“Sometimes we get too obsessed but I stick with Garbiñe’s words: ‘pressure is a privilege’. We quickly remove that pressure because we think that we have to cook for the client and not for the guides, but it is true that in many cases we become obsessed and want to get that first, second or third star, which in the end is the only It does is that you do not have a clean mind and you can cook with your freedom, your creativity and make people enjoy what you really know how to do and not with what you think someone might like. That is true freedom ”, assesses the chef from Madrid about the awards and recognitions, to which, like his partner in the kitchen for a day, he is perfectly accustomed, but which does not make him lose the north.

«The light at the end of the tunnel is in sight. We have done the hardest and now we can only endure this little bit with great strength, desire and health. I am very convinced that when everything returns to normal it will be better than before, “he finally points out as a positive message with 2021 just around the corner.


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