Garbiñe Muguruza was awarded with the Bronze Medal of Royal Order of Sports Merit by the Spanish government through the Higher Sports Council (CSD), in a ceremony held in Madrid on Thursday.
Muguruza was awarded for her efforts on the WTA tour this year, which was highlighted by a magical run to the Wimbledon final, a career high singles ranking of number three in the world and qualifying for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, amongst other things.
The Spanish Minister of Education, Culture and Sports Iñigo Mendez de Vigo presided the ceremony, where Muguruza was awarded the medal for her "experience in the world of tennis". The minister also stated that recognition must be given during the careers of Spanish athletes as a "sign of affection" from all the people who enjoyed their achievements in the last few years. In Muguruza's case, she was honoured with the medal for her extraordinary breakthrough in the last 18 months, which saw her climb from number 64 in the world to number three.
The world number three graciously accepted the award and thanked the president of the CSD Miguel Cardinal for all the love and support in the last few years. Born in Caracas, Venezuela, the 22-year-old had to make the tough decision to represent Spain -- her father's birthplace -- over Venezuela -- her mother's birthplace. Now that she resides in Madrid and has chosen to represent Spain, Muguruza says she feels all of the support that has been given to her throughout the course of her career, and has full trust in the country she loves with all her heart.
Muguruza will join the likes of badminton world champion Carolina Marin, soccer players Iker Casillas and Xavi Hernández as winners of a Royal Order of Sports Merit award in any category. (Casillas and Hernández were awarded with a Royal Order of Sports Merit Grand Cross, not a medal.)