PARIS: Garbine Muguruza grew up watching the Williams sisters win Grand Slams and transform the way women’s tennis was played.
She admired them. She loved the way the American siblings played. The way they competed. The way they carried themselves.
“I really like that they were very ambitious,” Muguruza said. “Every time they were playing, those girls, they really (wanted) to win. They’re very powerful. ... They intimidate the other people.”
Now, at age 22, Muguruza is a Major champion herself, taking the French Open title away from Serena Williams with a 7-5, 6-4 victory in the final Saturday to do it.
And Muguruza made clear afterwards that she wants to continue to collect her sport’s most important trophies.
“Of course I’m very happy, but I’d like to have more,” she said. “My dream is to continue and win more tournaments, similar tournaments, and to dominate.”
It is the first time since 2011-12 that three consecutive Major trophies went to a first-time women’s champion. “I thought about it. I thought about it yesterday. I’m like, ‘Come on ... You can do it,’” she said. “When you see people that are winning, and there’s new faces, (it) makes you think, like, ‘I can be one of those faces.’” There is no doubt that she is. When the new WTA rankings come out Monday, Muguruza will move up from No. 4 to a career-best No. 2, with only Williams ahead of her.
The Spaniard demonstrates the same sort of determination on a court that she observed in Williams and her sibling, hitting hard groundstrokes, aiming for lines, taking risks that bring real rewards.
GOING FOR SHOTS
“She likes to go for her shots. And in moments where, you know, you could be tense, and some other players would be tense, she goes for it,” said Conchita Martinez, the only Spanish woman to win Wimbledon, in 1994, and now the captain of the country’s Davis Cup and Fed Cup teams. “Serena does that, too.”
Martinez had this to add about Muguruza: “I’m sure she is going to win more Grand Slams.”
Few would argue, especially when hearing Muguruza talk about how she knows there are parts of her game that she wants to improve, starting with her serve.
As for Williams, it’s never a good idea to write her off, even if she is 34 and already the oldest woman to be No. 1, along with the oldest to win a Slam in Open era.
Muguruza’s coach, Sam Sumyk, was asked whether this was the end of the Williams era. “No, no, no, no, no, no, no. You’re jumping the gun there. No, no, no, no. She is still here,” Sumyk replied. “She will be around for a long time, I hope. She is a fantastic player, and we need her.”