Garbine Muguruza will be living out her tennis fantasy when she takes on Serena Williams in Saturday’s Wimbledon final.
“If you want to win a grand slam, when you dream, you say: `I want Serena in the final,'” Muguruza said after continuing her fairytale run with a 6-2 3-6 6-3 semi-final triumph over Agnieszka Radwanska on Thursday.
“She’s like one of the best players in all these years. So it’s obviously I think the best challenge to have.”
Seeded 21st, Muguruza has already stunned the tennis world in her improbable charge to the title match.
The Venezuela-born, Barcelona-raised 21-year-old had only won one match at the All England Club before last week and arrived with no real hopes of excelling on the grass.
“I didn’t feel so good. So to be here in the final, it’s like amazing,” Muguruza said after her ousting Poland’s 13th seed and former finalist, a win that followed equally impressive successes over world No.5 Caroline Wozniacki and 10th seed Angelique Kerber.
“It means a lot. You work all your life to achieve a grand slam final, to be in this situation.
“It’s like a dream, like a present after the hard work.”
Muguruza admitted she’d turned to Conchita Martinez, the last Spanish woman to win Wimbledon in 1994, for inspiration.
“I’m no good on grass,” she said in a text to Martinez.
“She was like, `C’mon, you can play good’. She’s just telling me every day, every match, `Keep going, you’re doing great’. Giving me power.”
Now, with a newfound belief and her “don’t be afraid” mantra, Muguruza believes lightning can strike twice and she can conquer Williams in the biggest match of her life.
Muguruza hammered the world No.1 at last year’s French Open, dropping just four games, before again making the quarter-finals at Roland Garros last month.
With a breakthrough title in Hobart last year her only tour success, Muguruza said the big-match exposure in Paris can only help.
“A lot of things change now. I’m more a player, a tennis player in enough aspects,” she said.
“I’ve grown so much mentally. I’m tougher now. Technically, I’ve also improved a lot. I’m stronger now.”
Frightened of jinxing herself, Muguruza insisted her family watch her semi-final at home in Barcelona “on the TV or the computer”.
They asked for tickets two days ago but the superstitious Spaniard said no.
“I brush my teeth at the same time. I wake up with the same leg. I’m not going to change anything,” she said.
“I’m going to talk to them now, to see if they’re going to come or not.
“I will see now. We will discuss.”