A weekend of inter-generational strife opened yesterday with a victory for fearless youth.

Venus Williams (37) could not live with the power, poise and all-round sass of Garbine Muguruza.

The result was a disappointment for romantics. Williams could have created a sporting fairytale yesterday by lifting a sixth Wimbledon, nine years after her last. In truth, though, Muguruza's victory was a positive for the sport. Tennis needs an exciting future, as well as a glorious past.

Muguruza, who is 23, was quite prepared to make this argument herself. When she came into the interview room after her dominant 7-5, 6-0 victory, one reporter suggested that she had stopped the sentimental favourite in her tracks.


"But come on," she chuckled. "We want new names and new faces.

"When I said that I grew up watching her play, everybody start laughing," added Muguruza, who would have been less perplexed if she had seen the comical face Williams pulled at that moment of the presentation ceremony.

"But, in fact, is something incredible. I'm just surprised she's hungry to keep winning. I don't know if I will be like this with her age. Probably I won't because she's the only one."

Muguruza may represent the cream of the next generation, but there is something timeless about her. She walks like a leading lady, in a stately prowl, holding her head and shoulders back in the manner of a ship's figurehead.

And, like a silver-screen diva from the 1930s, Muguruza does not get out of bed for anything but the best. Her last two trophies both came at majors: first the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen at the 2016 French Open, and now the Venus Rosewater Dish.

In between, there was a long spell of unfulfilment, or perhaps adjustment, as Muguruza struggled with the burden of being the next big thing. Perhaps it is no coincidence that as soon as she had passed her Roland Garros crown to Jelena Ostapenko, she rediscovered her best self.

Muguruza had been irresistible at this tournament, dropping her serve only four times on the way to the final. Yet there were times in the early stages yesterday when it seemed like she might be overwhelmed.

Williams announced herself with an ace on the first point and maintained a similar game plan to the one that had handcuffed Johanna Konta in their semifinal - deep, aggressive hitting from the baseline and heavy serves to the forehand whenever she needed a cheap point.

The tactic seemed to be working when she brought up two set points on Muguruza's serve at 5-4 in the first set. And then the critical rally ensued: a punishing 20-shot sequence, lasting 26 breathless seconds, in which Williams targeted her opponent's forehand. She forced one near-miss in the exchange, when Muguruza just clipped the top of the net-cord, but the ball still found the court.

These high-profile matches turn on small margins. Had that ball flown just a couple of inches lower, there may have been a different result. But Muguruza said later she always felt prepared to go the long way around.

"I was expecting the best Venus," she explained. "I knew she was going to make me suffer and fight for it.

"When I had those set points against me, I'm like, 'Hey, it's normal. I'm playing Venus here.' So I just keep fighting. And I knew that if I was playing like I was playing during the two weeks, I was going to have eventually an opportunity. So I was calm. If I lose the first set, I still have two more. Let's not make a drama."

The only drama was the sudden disintegration of Williams' tennis. In her next service game, she donated a double fault and a couple of limp forehands into the net. The first break of serve soon ensued, and that would be the end of this final as a contest.

If the 51 minutes of the first set made for a terrific spectacle of power-baseline tennis, the 26 minutes of the second were a procession. Muguruza won the last nine games of this tournament without interruption.

Afterwards, she paid tribute to her support team. Her regular coach, the Frenchman Sam Sumyk, did not travel to Wimbledon because his wife is due to give birth soon. So she has been working with 1994 champion Conchita Martnez, the last Spanish woman to win Wimbledon. Even more neatly, Martnez beat Martina Navratilova - a 37-year-old sentimental favourite - in the final.

Where will Muguruza go from here? The short answer is to No 5 in the world. But she clearly has the game to climb higher and win titles on a regular basis. There are no obvious weaknesses in her play other than an inability to grind out results when she is not feeling at her best. In this, she resembles Stan Wawrinka - another powerful and dangerous competitor who labours through peaks and troughs rather than maintaining the consistently high level of the Big Four.

Muguruza was asked about her pre-Wimbledon warm-up event in Eastbourne, where she lost 6-1, 6-0 against world No 23 Barbora Strycova. How could she go from that to the elite level she showed on Centre Court yesterday? Muguruza shrugged.

"I always come very motivated to the Grand Slams. Since I lost the final here [to Serena Williams in 2015], I wanted to change that.

"Is very hard to find a recipe to feel good fitness-wise, tennistically [sic], mentally. I think in this tournament I put everything together, which is very hard. Normally, you're tired, I feel pain here, my confidence is not there. So I felt this tournament, I find somehow to put everything together and perform good at every level."

Whatever she did, it was a winning formula.