Gigi Fernandez

October 1, 2020

#LegendaryBTR- “When I learned to play tennis in Puerto Rico, girls didn’t play sports so earning a living in tennis was not a possibility. I was raised to get married and have children but my older brothers played tennis and I wanted to be like them. When I started tennis, coaches would not teach me topspin because they thought girls were too weak. But that didn’t matter because there was no competition in Puerto Rico so I could still win playing with slice. Since the Puerto Rico Tennis Association was part of the USTA, I could play Summer Nationals where I was discovered by college coaches. I was recruited to play for Clemson University, where for the first time in my life I had to play tennis every day. The improvement was tremendous and  I reached the finals of the 1983 NCAA tournament as a freshman. I turned professional that year. But I was at a disadvantage on tour because I had to learn how to hit topspin like everyone else. As a junior, I rarely lost but as a professional I lost every week, sometimes even twice per week. I hated traveling. I was homesick and could not even afford

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