Twenty-three-year-old Garbine Muguruza won her second Grand Slam title at Wimbledon on Saturday, making it a perfect occasion to feature her in my Little Tennis Stars series, where I share cute childhood photos and stories of players’ rise to the top.
Born in 1993 in Caracas, Venezuela, Muguruza started playing tennis at the age of three. Being just a toddler, Garbi would watch her brothers Asier and Igor spend hours playing tennis and then one day she picked up a racquet herself, jumped onto the court and joined them. She had to wait until she turned four to be accepted into a tennis school, but until then she copied her much older brothers, who were playing competitively and quite well.
As tennis is not a popular sport in Venezuela, the whole family moved to Spain in 1999, to pursue the tennis dream of the three children. So, had it not been for her two siblings, Garbi would have never played tennis and her family wouldn’t have made the major move which gave Garbi the opportunity to train at the Bruguera Tennis Academy near Barcelona.
Garbi was just six years old when she played and won her first tournament. Having been consistently good at tournaments in her age group, Garbi realized that she could become a pro and she made the family dream come true, since her brothers have since adopted other careers (Asier is now an engineer, Igor is an economist), not being able to make a job out of tennis, despite also being very good at it.
Today a proud owner of the 2016 French Open title and 2017 Wimbledon title, the 23-year-old explains what goes through her head at the moments she wins major tournaments:
You look back at your family—we changed countries, changed everything just because of tennis. You realize that you started in a very small tennis club in a South American country where you don’t think about becoming the best tennis player. Everything we’ve been through to right now, holding that trophy…my parents were so emotional because they felt like, ‘Everything we’ve done is worth it.’