Garbine Muguruza has praise for Novak Djokovic that Serb will certainly love hearing

Muguruza speaks very highly of Djokovic.

by Dzevad Mesic
Garbine Muguruza has praise for Novak Djokovic that Serb will certainly love hearing
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Garbine Muguruza gave Novak Djokovic praise that he will certainly like very much as the Spanish tennis legend described the Serb as "a very nice guy off the court" but also noted that the 37-year-old has "that Serbian, Eastern Europe personality" when competing. 

When Djokovic first arrived on the Tour, Roger Federer was already a dominant figure for a couple of years and Rafael Nadal just established himself as a big rival to the Swiss. Then, Djokovic also started winning Grand Slams - formed huge rivalries with Federer and Nadal - and the rest is history. 

During their best years, the Big Three were winning and dominating so much that Muguruza feels Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka's three Grand Slams sound like "too little." 

While Djokovic is now a record 24-time Grand Slam champion, one thing that he has never had is the same level of love that Federer and Nadal used to receive from fans. But Muguruza, a former world No. 1, says she is a big Nadal and Federer fan but also highlights that she has always liked what Djokovic brings to the table with his personality and game.

"The Big 3 has left everything so high that winning three Grand Slams sounds like little. It's a tragedy. The number of Grand Slams that would have been shared... That generation is very tough, it was always the three of them. I am for Roger, I am pro Rafa to death. I think Djokovic is a tennis beast. In terms of quality in tennis, the best is Novak, I think he is very funny off the court and he is super nice, I have. He had a very good time. On the court it is true that he has that Serbian, Eastern personality. I like all three of them," Muguruza said in an interview with El Larguero, via Punto de Break.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic © Getty Images Sport - Shaun Botterill

Muguruza gets honest on how she feels when they call her 'a former tennis player'

On April 19th, Spanish media announced that Muguruza was planning to hold a special press conference the following day and pretty much everybody expected the former two-time Grand Slam champion to announce retirement. Exactly that happened as Muguruza confirmed that she was walking away from pro tennis at the age of 30 after not playing for the past 15 months. 

A couple of months have passed since Muguruza's decision and the former world No. 1 admits it is weird when she hears the word "former" being associated to her. 

"The word former tennis player sounds strange to me, in the end I am still involved in tennis, the difference is not competing. I will always feel like a tennis player, it is what I identify with. The day I announced that I was retiring I was very nervous. I am happy, enjoying this time doing other things, it's as I imagined, everything is very good," Muguruza said.

"I follow both the matches and the highlights, I was in Paris, I plan to be at Wimbledon, I'm still very involved. For a year I didn't see anything, now I do."

Garbine Muguruza
Garbine Muguruza © Getty Images Sport - Cameron Spencer

Muguruza on how she felt when she decided it was time to retire

In 2021, Muguruza concluded the season by winning the WTA Finals and ranked inside the top-10. But then, she went 12-17 in 2022 and also started the 2023 season with a disappointing 0-4 record. 

After losing her first four matches of 2023 in January, Muguruza decided to abruptly stop playing. A month later, the Spaniard confirmed that she took an indefinite break from pro tennis but gave no confirmation that she would play again. 

After the former world No. 1 didn't make a comeback at the start of 2024, it became pretty evident that she was leaning toward retirement. 

“Well, it was quite easy for me. I know for some athletes it takes a long time to decide, but for me, it was kind of natural. I just felt the need to move on in life, and the lack of excitement, I guess. With the years that changes – I want to look for other chapters in my life," Muguruza said on Tennis Channel in early May. 

Garbine Muguruza
Garbine Muguruza © Getty Images Sport - Shaun Botterill

During her career, Muguruza managed to accomplish two things that every tennis player dreams of - to win a Grand Slam and become the world No. 1 player. Also, winning the 2021 WTA Finals in in Guadalajara was very special for the Spanish tennis legend. 

“Winning trophies, Grand Slams, are the most amazing, everything. Also the Masters [WTA Finals] in Mexico, that was huge, playing in front of the Latin crowd, the whole stadium was crazy – like poor [Anett] Kontaveit, it was so tough. Those three are the best ones, yeah," Muguruza said when recalling the best moments of her career.

Garbine Muguruza Novak Djokovic