If you plan to make an impact in the sport of your chosen profession among fans, players, media and marketers, it certainty helps to be known as the first woman to beat both Serena and Venus Williams in Grand Slam tournaments.
Garbiñe Muguruza accomplished that this month when she defeated Venus in the finals at Wimbledon, having previously beaten Serena in the finals of the 2016 French Open.
She now heads into the next tennis major tournament, the U.S. Open in August, ranked No. 5 in the world, with a real shot at taking the No. 1 spot.
At 23, her pro career has been a bit of a roller coaster ride — she was No. 2 in the world following her initial Grand Slam win, then dropped out of the Top 10 following a series of early-round losses before climbing back into the Top 5 — but she has continued to build her marketing roster along the way.
Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Muguruza moved to Spain at age three, when she began to play tennis. She currently calls Geneva home but plays for Spain.
In 2014, she signed a multi-year deal with Mazda of Spain, her first non-endemic tennis deal. She followed that up by becoming a brand ambassador for financial firm BBVA.
Her current deals also include Adidas (shoes and Adidas by Stella McCarney clothes) Rolex, Maui Jim and Babolat tennis.
Her agent is Olivier van Lindonk with IMG, who is the senior vice-president for IMG Tennis.
Although her estimated $2-$4 million from endorsements is far from Serena Williams’ $19 million endorsement territory, she has the potential to move up the ladder among the top-paid female athletes in the world, and especially in tennis in light of Maria Sharapova’s drug-suspension related fall from grace over the past two years.
With her Wimbledon victory, for which she earned $1.3 million, she has earned almost $4 million in prize money in 2017, according to industry analysts. Overall, she has earned more than $14 million since turning pro in 2011.
"She has a bright future," Serena told the media following her loss last year to Muguruza.
Any rise in the ranks of top-paid women athletes would be welcome. Of the 100 highest-paid athletes in the world this past year, according to Forbes, only Serena made the list at No. 51.
Muguruza’s sponsors came out in force following her Wimbledon win with congratulations, and will be supporting her in New York for the U.S. Open (which runs Aug. 26 - Sept. 10).
If she puts on a strong showing and continues to move up in the rankings, more marketing opportunities could follow in such categories as tech, electronics, food and beverage, audio, jewelry and fashion.
She already has appeared on magazine covers and in photo shoots around the world.
If nothing else, she certainly welcomes the challenge.
“When I’m on a big court (such as Wimbledon), that’s where I feel good,” Muguruza said after winning the Wimbledon Grand Slam. “That’s where I am at my best. Center court against the best players.”