Garbine Muguruza acknowledged there have been many great role models throughout the tennis history but she feels Serena Williams is the one that really transformed the game. Williams, who finished her career with 23 Grand Slam titles in singles, played the powerful and aggressive tennis that wasn't really seen before her.
The competition had to adapt to Williams and that's one of the reasons why nowadays players are more aggressive and hitting the ball strong. Even though Williams didn't manage to break or tie Margaret Court's all-time record of 24 Grand Slams, Muguruza feels it is the American who deserves to be considered as the greatest of all time.
Muguruza: Williams transformed tennis
"Serena has always been my role model because she transformed tennis," Muguruza wrote for El Pais. "There are those who’ve been inspired by Sharapova or other great players, but Serena’s the one who definitively changed the game.
Not only has she dominated the sport for many years, but she has pioneered a powerful and aggressive style that blew away the previous generation, which played more tactical tennis. Serena took the game by storm and turned it into another type of sport, one that’s more aggressive, stronger, faster and more explosive.
From that point on, players all had to adapt if they wanted to compete at her level, or at least close to it. For all these reasons, she’s the greatest of all time. There’s no doubt about it." Muguruza clashed Williams six times and two of those six meetings came in Grand Slam finals.
In the 2015 Wimbledon final, Muguruza suffered a straight-set defeat to Williams. The following year, Muguruza defeated Williams in the French Open final to lift her first Grand Slam title. Their last meeting came in 2019 Indian Wells, when Williams retired after being down by a set to Muguruza. Overall, Muguruza finished with a 3-3 head-to-head versus Williams.