Superstition played its part in Conchita Martinez’s conviction that Garbine Muguruza would follow in her footsteps by becoming the second Spanish woman to win a Wimbledon singles title, but it is cold-headed logic that tells the 1994 champion that her compatriot is poised to become a dominant force in the sport.

There were some remarkable parallels between the experiences of the two women, Martinez having effectively drawn a line under the exceptional singles career of Martina Navratilova with her victory, while Muguruza defeated another 37-year-old multiple Grand Slam champion on Saturday in Venus Williams. Just as Martinez had done against Navratilova 23 years ago, Muguruza had beaten the woman she would face in the Wimbledon final a few weeks earlier. There was consequently a sense of destiny being at play.

“I believe in those things,” said Martinez. “It was funny to go through the whole tournament and to have different things like that. I didn’t realise she had beaten Venus in Rome until two or three days ago. I was like, ‘Oh my god, no way, you are going to do this, it is meant to be.’”

Loading article content

Not that the professional coach allowed such considerations to factor in to their preparation for the encounter.

“We talked about it many times, [but] not before the match,” she pointed out. “It wasn’t about talking about me, it was more on what she had to do to beat Venus, but inside my mind there were too many coincidences: 37, she beat her on clay this year in Rome; I beat Martina on clay that year in Rome. I was like, ‘Okay, we are going to do this.’”

Maybe fate did lend a hand and it was all the more curious that this happened when Martinez became Muguruza’s principal sounding board at this Wimbledon because regular coach Sam Sumyk needed time off . However, there are also considerable differences. While Martinez would ultimately contest three Grand Slam finals, that would be her only appearance in the Wimbledon version and she would lose in those subsequent Australian and French Open finals. For Muguruza, this was already a second appearance in the Wimbledon showpiece, a third Grand Slam final and a second success, following her win in Paris last year.

Their career paths now seem ever more likely to diverge since Muguruza, far from merely being associated with the end of an era as Martinez’s greatest triumph tends to be remembered, has the capacity in terms of athleticism, range of shot, decision-making ability and style of play, to replace the Williams sisters as the dominant force in the women’s game.

Rather than gaze into crystal balls, it is Martinez the analyst who, also drawing upon Muguruza’s Wimbledon defeat of world No.1 Angelique Kerber, endorses that view.

“She has an amazing game; amazing potential. Every day that was going by I thought she was playing amazing. That match with Kerber was so tight but she hung in. Of course I thought she could do it but you have to be so focused for a couple of weeks here,” she observed.

While, then, there is commonality in terms of nationality and those aforementioned coincidences surrounding their Wimbledon wins, it ends there. Martinez was a high-end tour player with a solid temperament, whereas Muguruza is an athlete of a different order, but is also much more overtly emotional.

“We are completely opposite, completely different,” the coach acknowledged. “She is a very powerful player. For me it was important that she can do this, she can take the ball early, don’t give time to the opponent to come back; it’s very important that she stays aggressive, takes the ball early, then pushes and goes for it. She can go to the net, too. She did it unbelievably with Kerber and [Magdalena] Rybarikova [the semi-final opponent who was swatted off Centre Court]. She is brave in that sense.”

All that remains is to demonstrate that a year on from her French Open win and a month on from her distraught exit from that event when her defence ended, she now boasts the mental toughness to dominate.

“She is going to have more experience,” Martinez contended. “After a year she has won another Grand Slam. She has had ups and downs but she already has a couple in her pocket. Hopefully she can stay a little more steady. The key is to continue routines, continue to work hard and focus on every tournament you play.”