By Leighton Ginn
If your name is not Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova or Victoria Azarenka, odds are you are not a player built to last.
There’s a long list of one-Slam wonders who do nothing to follow-up on their success. And there are others who are flash in the pans who can’t muster up any more than 15 minutes of fame.
That brings us to the case of Garbine Muguruza, the powerful Spanish star who captured the French Open title by beating Williams in the finals. She avenged a loss to Williams in the Wimbledon finals in 2015.
It sounds like the makings of a possible rivalry for Williams, who at times looks light years ahead of the rest of the players on the WTA Tour, even though she hasn’t won either of the first two majors.
Muguruza is only 22 and has shown to be incredibly streaky. She’s lost her opening matches in four tournaments this year, Mallorca in her first match since winning the French. It was her home country and on grass, where she was in the Wimbledon final a year ago.
This is becoming a familiar trend.
Much like Muguruza, Kerber upset Williams in the Australian Open final to start the year. After that victory, Kerber would lose five opening round matches.
Going into Wimbledon, Muguruza is No. 2 and Kerber is No. 4.
And there were other players who were getting hot, but didn’t win a major, such as Caroline Wozniacki and Genie Bouchard.
There are a few two-time Slam winners like Samantha Stosur and Petra Kvitova.
There’s a few theories.
- The women’s field lacks elite players. Serena is in a class by herself. Azarenka has lacked the consistency in her comeback. Kvitova can’t match her Wimbledon success.
- Too much too soon. Once a player wins a major, the demands come quick. Kerber didn’t say no too much and found herself stretched thin and now is trying to regain her form. Muguruza, who many want to be the next It Girl, probably is facing the same kind of suffocating demand.
- Girls can’t adjust to having a target on their backs. One you have a Grand Slam title to your credit, no one will ever sleep on you, so the gimme’s become fewer.
So why should we care? Well, Serena Williams is closer to the end of her career. She’s still dominant, but how much longer can she go?
When Williams retires, who will carry the baton?
Unless she wins her appeal, Sharapova won’t be back for a while.
Azarenka has shown signs of getting back on top, but hasn’t done it yet.
Who else can carry the tour?
Hopefully at Wimbledon, someone will emerge to start the next era.
And for right now, Muguruza is the latest, greatest hope.