Mary Joe Fernández: 1971—: Tennis Player, Television Sports Analyst
Two-time Olympic Champion
Fernández's health and tennis game improved in 1995 when she won two singles titles in Brighton and Berlin. She also reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon and the United States Open. In 1996 Fernández reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon again and she made it to the finals of the Direct Line Championships at Eastbourne. However, she did not capture a singles title that year. She did much better at doubles. She won the French Open doubles title with her friend and fellow tennis champion, Lindsay Davenport. She also repeated her gold medal doubles performance at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia, with Gigi Fernández. Mary Joe Fernández was not ranked high enough to make the American team, but she was called to fill in as a replacement for the injured Chanda Rubin. "It was more difficult this time, more nerve-wracking on your home court," Fernández told Amy Shipley of Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service in August of 1996. "It was tough, but I think more special to win at home."
In 1997 Fernández reached the semifinals of the Australian Open and the quarterfinals of the French Open, but she was not able to capture a Grand Slam title. She won her seventh, and final, women's singles title in Berlin that year. In 1998 Fernández had arthroscopic surgery on her wrist and missed much of the season. She returned late in the year and played all of the 1999 season, but she did not win any titles. She also did not do as well in the Grand Slam tournaments, perhaps because power players such as Venus Williams and Amelie Mauresmo were starting to dominate the women's game.
After the 1999 season Fernández limited her playing on the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) tour because she was still battling problems with her wrist. She participated in World Team Tennis in 1999 and 2000. She also began doing broadcast work occasionally and writing for Tennis magazine. On April 8, 2000, Fernández married Tony Godsick, a vice president of IMG sports management agency and the manager of tennis champion Monica Seles. In 2001 Fernández became a sports analyst for women's tennis for ESPN and ESPN2.
Throughout her career Fernández has been involved in numerous charities, including Big Brother/Big Sister, the Hunger Project, World Vision Projects, and the Special Olympics. In 1992 she organized a charity tennis event to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Andrew, which devastated south Florida. In 1993 she helped establish a women's tennis scholarship program at Florida International University in Miami. In 1994 Fernández served as the national spokesperson for the Cities in Schools/Burger King Academy program, which is a dropout prevention program. Since Fernández felt the pressure to drop out of high school to pursue tennis, she saw this program as an opportunity to encourage other kids to stay in school.
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—Janet P. Stamatel
- Mary Joe Fernández: 1971—: Tennis Player, Television Sports Analyst - Became Full-time Tennis Professional
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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Trevor Edwards Biography - Accepted Wisdom from His Mother to Francisco Franco (1892–1975) BiographyMary Joe Fernández: 1971—: Tennis Player, Television Sports Analyst Biography - Displayed An Early Interest In Tennis, Balanced School And Tennis, Became Full-time Tennis Professional