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'Garbiñe is becoming a better grass-court player,' says Muguruza's coach Sam Sumyk

In an interview with, the defending champion's coach praises her progress ahead of Wimbledon 2018.

The Wimbledon champion could be forgiven for seeing the world through a purple-and-green prism. But Garbiñe Muguruza's coach Sam Sumyk has discouraged the Spaniard from thinking and talking too much about Wimbledon in recent weeks, for fear of creating "bad energy".

Constant discussions about defending a Grand Slam title can burn through a lot of emotional energy before the tournament even starts, Sumyk said in an exclusive interview with

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"Sometimes, if you think too much too early about a Grand Slam, you can have bad energy. So it's about making sure you don't use too much emotional energy too soon," Sumyk said of Muguruza, who defeated Venus Williams in last summer's final to win the Venus Rosewater Dish for the first time.

Even when Muguruza played at this summer's grass-court event at Birmingham's Edgbaston Priory Club - the Nature Valley Classic - Sumyk didn't drop the W-word into conversation.

"During the Birmingham tournament, we didn't speak about Wimbledon. Obviously at Wimbledon, we are thinking a lot about it and seeing how are we are going to do it. But when she was playing in Birmingham, she was concentrating on her grass game, but not specifically on Wimbledon," said the Frenchman.

"When Garbiñe was in Birmingham, her mind was in Birmingham, and not yet in Wimbledon. Otherwise, every time she stepped on the grass in Birmingham, and every time she played a shot, she would have ended up thinking, 'This shot is for Wimbledon'. And I don't think that's going to help."

This is the second time that Muguruza has returned to a Grand Slam as the defending champion. The first occasion, coming a year after she scored her first major at the 2016 French Open, didn't go so well, with Muguruza losing in the fourth round in Paris in 2017 and with Sumyk feeling as though the Parisian crowd had treated his player unfairly.

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"I don't know yet what she has learned [from her first experience as a defending champion at a Grand Slam]," Sumyk said. "Maybe it's helpful to look at this from a different angle. Instead of thinking that you're defending a Grand Slam, [you're starting afresh] and you're just trying to win another major."

In Sumyk's view, it's beneficial for Muguruza to be "suffering inside" as that will help her to improve as a player.

"When you're worried a little bit, but it's a good worry, your concentration level rises. You're a bit more demanding of yourself. You prepare yourself more, you ask more from yourself," Sumyk said. "I want to believe that she's becoming a better grass court player. Overall, we're trying to make her a better player all year round on every surface. It's not specifically about grass, but I think she has a game and a mentality that suits the surface. She can use some of her strengths and her best shots on grass."

Last summer, Sumyk watched from afar, as he didn't travel to London because his wife was heavily pregnant, and it was Conchita Martinez who provided the on-site guidance and encouragement.

"That was fantastic, that of course wasn't a bad or a strange experience because I wasn't in London," Sumyk said. "It wasn't more stressful watching on TV and not being there in Centre Court at Wimbledon. I didn't feel that stress as I had the ocean next to me. The ocean helped me out."

This summer, Sumyk will be at the All England Club as Muguruza seeks greatness on the grass.

"It's a long way to go, but if it happens that she wins another Grand Slam, you kind of establish yourself as a great player," said Sumyk. "That's what the top players want to do after winning a Grand Slam - to accomplish it again. She is very motivated for the Grand Slams. If you can add another one to your record, that's pretty good, no?"

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