The Zayed Sports City's International Tennis Centre in Abu Dhabi will host the UAE's first WTA 500 event from January 5. Seven top-20 players will battle for the title ahead of the Melbourne trip, hoping to shape up their game and get ready for the first Major of the season that starts on February 8.
World no. 15 Garbine Muguruza should be among the favorites, wrapping up her pre-season training with her coach Conchita Martinez and looking for a strong start of the season. During the press conference, the Caracas native said she feels great ahead of the season's first tests, seeking a good result before heading to Melbourne.
Praising the organizers, Garbine noted there is no fear around the Melbourne quarantine, bubble, practice matches and official action on the court, fully trusting Tennis Australia and their health measures. A year ago, the Spaniard produced her A-game at the Australian Open and toppled Elina Svitolina, Kiki Bertens and Simona Halep to advance into the fourth Major final.
It came as a surprise following a terrible run after the Roland Garros 2019, bringing Garbine back into contention on the biggest scene and improving her ranking.
Garbine Muguruza is seeking the title in Abu Dhabi.
The Spaniard couldn't go all the way, losing 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 against the young American Sofia Kenin and missing the opportunity to add the third Major to her tally.
Garbine made a promising start before Sofia took charge to dominate sets two and three and secure the first Major trophy. In the following events, Muguruza was the quarter-finalist in Dubai and Doha, staying at home in the next six months thanks to the coronavirus outbreak.
Garbine was back at her best in Rome, reaching the semi-final and wrapping up the season with the third-round exit at Roland Garros. "I feel I am back again, and I am looking forward to the entire excitement of being at a new event and a new season.
I am glad we will have the crowd at the Australian Open, and right now, I feel motivated and happy to be part of it all. I am not concerned about these times now, as we make a comeback to normal tennis on the Tour, with everyone doing a great job putting this swing together.
There is a lot of attention to the little details like staying put in the room and training with the same partners. I have to prepare for that before heading to Melbourne. The team is putting everything together, and Tennis Australia is doing a great job. I know we will all be safe," Garbine Muguruza said.