HISPANIC HERITAGE SPOTLIGHT:
MARY JOE FERNANDEZ
Ashley Marshall | September 22, 2017
Sept. 15 – Oct. 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month. To celebrate, USTA.com is taking a look at past, present and future stars of Hispanic heritage who have helped to shape the game, and those who could soon cement their place in it.
Here’s a closer look at Mary Joe Fernandez, who won 26 titles and reached career highs of No. 4 in both singles and doubles less than three months apart.
- Fernandez, a top junior player, has the distinction of being the only player to win a title in each of the four age divisions at the Orange Bowl. Even more impressive, she did it in consecutive years, winning the U12 Junior Orange Bowl in 1982, the U14 Junior Orange Bowl in 1983, the U16 Orange Bowl in 1984 and the U18 Orange Bowl in 1985.
- Born in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic to a Spanish father and Cuban mother, Fernandez was a three-time Grand Slam singles finalist, finishing runner-up at the Australian Open in 1990 and 1992 and at the French Open in 1993.
She also reached six other major semifinals and was in the quarterfinals of all four Grand Slam tournaments at least three times each.
- Fernandez won two Grand Slam women’s doubles titles – at the 1991 Australian Open with fellow American Patty Fendick and at the 1996 French Open with Lindsay Davenport. Both victories came against another member of Team USA, Gigi Fernandez, who had partnered Jana Novotna in Melbourne and Natasha Zvereva in Paris. In addition, Mary Joe reached five other major doubles finals – at the US Open (1989), the Australian Open (1990, 1992 and 1996) and the French Open (1997).
- Fernandez won back-to-back Olympic Games gold medals, pairing with Gigi Fernandez to top the podium on a clay court in Barcelona in 1992 and again on a hard court in Atlanta four years later. She also earned a bronze medal in the singles at the Barcelona games after losing to Steffi Graf in the semifinals.
- Since retiring in 2000, Fernandez has remained active in the tennis community. She was the U.S. Fed Cup captain from 2009 to 2016, posting a 10-8 record and reaching finals in consecutive years (2009-10). Only Billie Jean King and Marty Riessen, who each led the team for nine years, have had a longer tenure as U.S. Fed Cup captain than Fernandez, who won the Fed Cup as a player under King in 1996. Fernandez also coached Team USA at the 2012 Olympics in London and has been a regular commentator during televised tennis tournaments.