(Reuters) - 2015 Wimbledon runner-up Garbine Muguruza believes there are plenty of players who could make an impact at next week's championships despite the absence of last year's winner Serena Williams and former champion Maria Sharapova.
Williams, who confirmed in April that she was expecting a baby, is on maternity leave for the remainder of 2017, while 2004 Wimbledon champion Sharapova has pulled out of the grass court season with a thigh injury.
Asked whether it would be a different championship without the two former champions, Muguruza said: "Not really, I think Serena is going to make a bigger impact because, you know, she has been in the final for I don't know how many years.
"But there are a lot of players who are taking that spot and it is going to be just another tough tournament, even though maybe the major names are not here this year."
Ahead of her return to SW19, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova has said it is only the beginning of her "second career" after recovering from injuries to her playing hand sustained during a knife attack in her home last December.
"I am calling this a second career," the 27-year-old Czech said at the WTA players' party in London.
"And I do see things differently, not only tennis, but moments in the life when I realised it is much more nicer than I saw it before. So I am really grateful that I am still here and to live the moment."
Kvitova is the 11th seed at Wimbledon which starts on Monday.
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; editing by Andrew Roche