A delighted Garbiñe Muguruza hailed her fighting spirit after coming through a tricky opening set against Venus Williams before running away with the second to claim her first Wimbledon women’s singles title.
The 23-year-old Spaniard –runner-up against Williams’s sister Serena in 2015 – faced two set points at 4-5 in the first set but confidently saw them out before taking the next nine games to come through 7-5, 6-0 in 77 minutes. Afterwards she confessed that though she had been nervous she was always confident of a triumph.
“I was expecting the best Venus, because she was playing very good and I knew she was going to make me suffer for it,” she said. “I was very nervous and tense. I wanted it to go my way.
“But when I had those set points against me, I’m like: ‘Hey, it’s normal. I’m playing Venus here.’ So I just kept fighting. And I knew I was going to eventually have an opportunity.”
Williams might have been the sentimental favourite at 37, but Muguruza insisted she had been looking forward to playing the American – even though she was someone she looked up to when growing up. “You know, she has won here five times, so she knows how to play,” she said. “I was so excited to go out there and win, especially over a role model.” Murguruza also admitted that when she started playing on grass she had hated the surface – something the packed Centre Court crowd would never have known given the way she played in ending Williams’s hopes of a sixth Wimbledon title. “It was rough at the beginning,” said Muguruza. “I didn’t like grass. For sure I suffered. It took me a while actually to calm down, to say: ‘Hey, it’s grass, you have to adapt to the surface.’
“Once I got to the Wimbledon final against Serena Williams two years ago, everything changed for me because I felt like: ‘Stop complaining.’ Since that moment I’ve liked grass and looked in a positive way. It made a big difference.”
A disappointed Williams, who hinted that she would be back next year when she will be 38, admitted it had not been her day. “I definitely would have loved to have converted some of those break points,” she said. “But she competed really well. So credit to her. She just dug in there and managed to play better. I’ve had a great two weeks. I’m looking forward to the rest of the summer.”