Much like her past few attempts, Serena Williams quest for No. 22 came to a screeching halt. When Spaniard Garbine Muguruza came out for the finals, she meant business.
The 22 year-old stopped the iconic tennis figure in straight sets of the Women’s Finals of the French Open at Roland Garros, 7-5 6-4.
“It was really weird. Serena was in front of the ball, so I didn’t know if it was in or out. I looked at the chair umpire and he doesn’t want to say anything. Line judge doesn’t want to say anything,” Muguruza said.
“I was like ‘Did I win Roland Garros? What happened?’ When he said ‘game, set, and match’, I was like, ‘No way! I won?’ It was, like, amazing. I didn’t know what to do, honestly. To jump? To go to the floor? At the moment, I’m like heart attack almost!”
The Spaniard, who was born in Venezuela, was the No. 4 seed coming into the tournament. Last year she made a name for herself when she lost the Wimbledon finals to…you guess it, Serena Williams and worked all year to position herself for a rematch.
Then Williams lost in the Semi Finals of the US Open and Angelique Kerber beat Serena in the Australian Open. “I thought about it yesterday. When you see there’s new faces winning, it makes you think ‘I can be one of those faces. Hey, if Kerber can, I can’,” she said.
And that makes this win even more special.
“Being close to Serena’s name, of course, because she’s won so many Grand Slams. She’s part of history,” she said. “There is Steffi Graf, as well. All of the names. It’s so great to have mine here, as well. It’s a dream come true. It’s a tournament that I’ve always wanted to win. It’s done now. I’ve done it. It’s on my list.”
The slower courts in the French and Wimbledon seems to be her strong suit as she got knocked out in the second and third rounds, respectively in Flushing Meadows and Melbourne.
But much like other Spaniards, the clay courts seems to suit her and she became the first Spanish woman to win since Arantxa Sánchez Vicario, who won the French three times, last being in 1998.
So what’s next for this French Open Champion?
“Of course, the (other) Grand Slams. For instance, I almost won at Wimbledon. I remember this final. I hope I’ll have another final and not let it slip away. And, of course, No.1. Everybody’s dreaming about being No.1 but I’m not thinking this way. I decided to keep my focus and win matches and tournaments.”
And that will make both of her countries proud. Although she’s a citizen of Spain Venezuela does hold a special place in her heart.
“I hope I can be an inspiration for both Spanish and Venezuelan people. That’s the best when you inspire people, when people tell you ‘oh, I wish I could play like you and to be like that’.
“Venezuela, I always have it in my heart even though there is a Spanish flag under my name. I have a lot of support from there similar to Spanish, which is amazing. I not only play for Spain. I play for both.”
And now the rest of the world knows her.