Meet Garbine Muguruza, the Woman Standing Between Serena Williams and History
Garbine Muguruza grew up idolizing Serena Williams. Now the 21-year-old is the only person standing in the way of Williams, a 21st Grand Slam title and another “Serena Slam.”
Saturday, the Venezuelan-born Spaniard will make her Grand Slam final debut, against Williams, at Wimbledon.
“I don’t even have words to explain how happy I am. I worked all my life to achieve this moment so there are no words,” Muguruza said after her semifinal win on Thursday, per the WTA Tour website.
Muguruza will also make her debut in the WTA’s top 10 on Monday. Unlike other young stars, such as Eugenie Bouchard, Laura Robson, Heather Watson and Madison Keys, Muguruza rose up the rankings without much fanfare—at least from the media.
Now she will be ranked ahead of all of them.
So just who is this hard-hitting shot-maker?
Her full name is Garbine Muguruza Blanco. Her father is Spanish, and her mother hails from Venezuela. Her family moved to Barcelona when she was six. Although she enjoys dual citizenship, Muguruza plays tennis under the Spanish flag.
Last year, before deciding which country to represent in the Fed Cup, Muguruza told TennisHead magazine, “It’s difficult. My family, half is in Spain and half is in Venezuela. Someone’s going to hate me so I don’t want to choose.”
As one of the tour’s “Rising Stars,” Muguruza sat down with WTATennis.com to talk about her favorite things, which includes Rihanna’s music and playing pingpong.
Her doubles partner, Carla Suarez Navarro, is from Spain. The two won the Aegon Classic in Birmingham, England, in June, their second WTA doubles title. Fellow Spaniard Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor is her best friend on the tour, and they won a doubles title together in 2013.
If she weren’t playing tennis, Muguruza said she’d probably be an actress. She enjoys going to movies and became nervous when she ran into actor Antonio Banderas, per Nick Harris of the Daily Mail, who was at Wimbledon to see Rafael Nadal.
At 6’0″, 161 pounds, Muguruza is an imposing figure on the court. She walks with a swagger reminiscent of NFL wide receivers or NBA point guards.
That walk is the strut of confidence. She believes she can compete with anybody, including Williams.
After defeating Williams at the 2014 French Open, Muguruza spoke with reporters about how hard it was to get past playing her idol: