LONDON (Reuters) - Champion Garbine Muguruza described winning Wimbledon as a “priceless” experience after she opened up traditional ‘ladies day’ on Wimbledon’s Centre Court with a 6-2 7-5 win over British wildcard Naomi Broady in the first round on Tuesday.
Twelve months ago the Spaniard was still thinking “how the hell did I (reach) that final?” as she fondly recalled her 2015 run when she was runner-up to Serena Williams.
Days after making that declaration, she was walking off Centre Court open-mouthed and balancing the Rosewater Dish on her head after demolishing Serena’s older sister Venus in the final.
On Tuesday, it appeared as if Broady was going to hand Muguruza the win on a plate as she fell 3-0 behind even before the majority of fans had a chance to file into the arena.
Once she did have the support of a near-capacity crowd, the 138th-ranked Briton produced a more assured performance but it was never going to be enough against a player who has won two Grand Slam titles since they last met seven years ago.
Broady, who saved eight of the 11 break points she faced, survived a match point on her serve in the 10th game to the delight of the cheering fans but the third seed made no mistake two games later as she wrapped up the win.
After winning her debut slam at the French Open in 2016, Muguruza appeared to have hit a mental roadblock as she failed to win any titles for 13 months — with her triumph at Wimbledon finally ending that barren run.
Second time round as a major champion, she has done a better job of handling those expectations and triumphed in Cincinnati weeks later.
The 24-year-old admitted winning Wimbledon had had a “big impact”.
“When you win Wimbledon... the best tournament ... your mind is like ‘I won Wimbledon, priceless’,” said Muguruza, who had pinned on her purple All England Club membership badge for her post-match news conference.
“The repercussion of winning Wimbledon has a big impact. I do feel more confident knowing that I won Wimbledon. It gives you this extra thing that not everybody can live that.”
She will be back on court on Thursday to illustrate her new-found confidence against Belgium’s Alison van Uytvanck.
Reporting by Pritha Sarkar, editing by Clare Fallon