Middle States

A Role Model for Future Generations



Growing up in Puerto Rico, Gigi Fernandez says she did not have very many role models who were female athletes. 


“I had nobody to look up to and say ‘I want to be like her’, and there were very few hispanic tennis players,” she said.

She took it into her own hands to change that for future generations. 


“I’m the first Puerto Rican female professional athlete in any sport.”


Fernandez compiled a Hall of Fame career with 17 Grand Slam women’s doubles titles and two Olympic gold medals. She became one of the most recognizable tennis athletes of her generation.


Looking back, she said she enjoys thinking about her impact on the next generation of young Puerto Rican women in tennis, and all the potential of future athletes.


“Now, some of these young girls look up to me and say ‘I want to be like her’," she said with a smile. "I am very proud to be hispanic and I’m very proud to be Puerto Rican."


Frenandez continues to be active in the tennis industry and now runs her own doubles instructional program called “The Gigi Method," teaching doubles strategies to players all over the U.S. 


In late September, she visited Philadelphia Cricket Club to share her successes and her strategies with local players.



In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, USTA Middle States is honoring a handful of individuals with Hispanic and Latino backgrounds. Know someone who deserves recognition? Let us know by emailing communications@ms.usta.com

Skip Advertisement


Related Articles

  • For more than 30 years, Stephanie Howard has made her life about growing tennis. The 2022 Middle States Teaching Professional of the Year is dedicated, hardworking and loves what she does. Howard is the Director of Community Outreach at Princeton Tennis Program (PTP). PTP runs programming at Community Park and at the Eve Kraft Tennis Center in Princeton, N.J. Read More
  • Germantown Cricket Club continued its annual celebration of Juneteenth by opening its doors to the public to celebrate the history of Black tennis. This was the third straight year that the historic, Philadelphia-based club hosted the community to honor the holiday. Read More
  • A 13-year-old from Allentown, Pa., Derek Yao was recently recognized with a Middle States Junior Sportsmanship Award. In recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage (AAPI) Month, we asked Derek about his background and what AAPI Month means to him. Read More