“I can’t serve!”
It was the shout heard ‘round the world.
2013 Winner and this year’s favorite, Serena Williams, had just been handed a lopsided (6-2, 6-2) loss in straight sets in the coveted French Open. A competition she’s won the two years previously. The virtually unknown 20 year-old Spaniard, Garbine Muguruza (35th ranked), stepped up to the challenge that seemingly no tennis athlete wants… the chore of beating a Williams sister.
Make no mistake; this is a very big deal.
For nearly two decades Serena and her sister Venus have wreaked havoc on the women’s tennis circuit all while racking up more wins and titles than possibly imaginable to the average professional. In fact, the only formidable competition the two have faced their entire career is well– themselves.
Venus and Serena lifetime have a total of 24 head-to-head matchups with Serena currently winning the series by taking 14 of them. This was supposed to be matchup number 25, but Muguruza had other plans.
One thing is for sure a re-match would have been an excellent scenario because when the Williams sisters play, the world watches.
The all-Williams final at the 2001 US Open drew larger television ratings than the Notre Dame-Nebraska college football game being broadcast at the same time. TV executives theorized them moving to the prime time spot to rival the football game was a good idea because of the positivity of the sister’s story, and they were 100% correct.
None of this mattered for Muguruza though, always the class act, she remained humble in her moment of triumph. “I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I’m winning,'” Muguruza said, noting that she grew up watching Serena on TV.
“Since I was a child, I thought, ‘Oh, I want to play against Serena on center court.’ And today was the day,” Muguruza went on to say. “And I think I did very good.”
Very good was quite the understatement; Serena is by all measurable criteria out of her league according to conventional thinking. 288 career Grand Slam matches, 17 majors titles and a 54-2 record on clay over the past three seasons is beyond intimidating compared to a 1-1 overall record at the French Open up until this victory for the young 20-year old Spaniard.
Talk about disparity.
This may be a footnote to the illustrious career of Williams, but this could be the catalyst to a triumphant young career. After all, how many can say they beat Serena, let alone 2-0 in straight sets?
Copyright 2014 – Clifford Franks. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.