As published in Florida Tennis Magazine
Muguruza's Recent Triumphs Help Dispel Two Myths About the Spanish Method of Training
Garbine Muguruza's recent triumph at Wimbledon ---and her success in general--are important to help dispel two common myths about Spanish Tennis:
1. The Spanish system is somehow ineffective at developing world-class girls and women.
2. The Spanish system does not develop players who can win on all surfaces.
Both myths are patently false and the rise of Muguruza provides strong evidence against them.
For decades now, as the Spanish Armada of men have taken the ATP tour by storm, starting in the late 1980's with great Spanish players such as Emilio Sanchez and early 1990's with Sergi Bruguera and many, many others, there has been a dearth of female Spanish champions and significantly fewer successes on the WTA tour for Spain. Two bright spots were Aranxta Sanchez-Vicario and Conchita Martinez--great champions--but in general, there was not a huge wave of female success on the WTA tour as compared to the ATP. The Spanish Armada seemed to be captained primarily by men.
Thus a pervasive criticism of Spanish tennis developed: that the system in Spain could produce many world-class male players but something in the approach was flawed at developing female players. Muguruza's success is helping to dispel that myth. She will also help drive more females tennis players into the sport with her star power and popularity.
Historically, the female participation rate for girls in sport in Spain has been lower than boys, and this is one of the main reasons Spain has produced fewer female top players than men. Muguruza proves the Spanish Method works for females, and at the same time, she will help grow the tennis participation rate in Spain for girls.
The second prevailing myth has been that the Spanish style of training does not produce players who can win on all surfaces.
There has been a litany of evidence over the last few decades to combat this myth, but it still exists to a certain extent.
As more and more Spanish trained players win on all surfaces, this myth should recede into the backdrop. Only the uninformed make this claim anymore.
Many Spanish champions, from David Ferrer, to Juan-Carlos Ferrero, to Carlos Moya, Fernando Lopez, and Rafa Nadal have had excellent results on hard and grass surfaces.
Conchita Martinez won Wimbledon for Spain, and now Muguruza has won both Roland Garros and Wimbledon--a very strong support of the flexibility of modern Spanish training.
Muguruza started at the Bruguera Academy at the age of 7 and trained there for almost a decade. She got her start on the pro tour traveling with a Bruguera coach. She trained a lot on red clay at the academy but also spent a significant time on hard courts. She is a perfect example of the adaptability of the modern Spanish training system.
While she grew up on red clay learning how to grind, run, and defend, as she matured the Bruguera team allowed her to hone her strong, attacking power baseline game that would serve her well on fast courts.
Indeed, many other leading Spanish academies have been evolving--not just Bruguera. Nadal's new academy in Mallorca stresses hard court play, and almost every top academy in Spain now rotates players from clay to hard courts regularly to give them the unique benefits of playing on each surface.
Muguruza's success is a reminder of the power and flexibility of the training method in Spain. It works for both men and women, and it can produce champions on any surface.