Tall and attractive, Garbine Muguruza first caught attention of the tennis world when she beat her icon and World No.1 Serena Williams in the second round at the 2014 French Open.
Since then, the Spaniard has never failed to charm, leading many to believe that she could take the position of Serena on the women’s tour. Muguruza made the final at Wimbledon this year, failing to beat her idol, her eyes full of tears as the crowd welcomed her with applause on the dias.
Three weeks ago, the 22-year-old won the biggest title of her career at the China Open in Beijing and recently overtook Maria Sharapova as the new World No.3. The breakthrough season she is enjoying this year even helped Muguruza earn a berth in the WTA Finals at Singapore for the first time, where she is currently competing as one of the best eight players of this year.
“I earned my place here. I definitely have the level to compete and I deserve to be playing here… I think I played very good this month, and hopefully I can continue doing it,” an excited Muguruza told reporters.
One of the greats of women’s tennis, Martina Hingis likes Muguruza’s chances at Singapore.
“I like a lot the way she played lately. She probably has an edge right now. But can she pull through it? Can she win an event like this? That’s another question. Is she mature enough? I think so,” said Hingis.
With a tennis talent that goes beyond singles, Muguruza is also competing as one of the elite eight pairs in doubles at the WTA Finals.
Playing with her compatriot Carla Suarez Navarro, Muguruza lost her first match in doubles but on Monday, she returned with some of her best tennis to beat Czech Republic’s Lucie Safarova in straight sets.
The Spaniard is a sharp baseline player with more than enough potential to be the best player in the world, however, it is her humility and an ever-glowing smile that has made her an even greater favourite with fans.
When journalists ask her a tough question, Muguruza doesn’t get serious or angry. She instead gets nervous and laughs at her apparent difficulty in finding a good answer.
Last year, she was in India to play in the inaugural edition of the Champions Tennis League, an exhibition form of tennis launched by former player Vijay Amritraj.
While some fans in the country did not even know who Muguruza was, they instantly struck a chord with her happy-go-lucky attitude. In their words, she was a ‘soni kudi’ or a good-natured, beautiful lady.
When she failed to take court on the following day for her match owing to an illness, crowds were disappointed to say the least. In a country where fans are not lucky enough to watch tennis of a higher intensity, Muguruza had enchanted Indian spectators with the variation in her singles game.
When Serena exits, women’s tennis will be waiting to find someone fit enough for her crown. At 22 years old, Muguruza is already a superstar. But can she take her game to the next level and become an undisputed World No.1? A deep run in Singapore and especially winning the title would only announce to the world that the future is already here and happening.