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Noah Rubin’s “Behind The Racquet” • With • Gigi Fernandez | Tennis 10sBalls

Photo by Behind The Racquet

Editor’s note: 10sBalls thanks Noah Rubin for giving us permission to repost these great stories.

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#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 a coach. After four years on the circuit, I had enough and was going to quit. The 1988 US Open was going to be my last tournament.

Then I met sports psychologist Jim Loehr. I went from wanting to quit tennis to winning my first Grand Slam, the 1988 US Open. I went on to win sixteen more Grand Slams. Fourteen of those titles were with Natasha Zvereva during a five-year period. During that time, I didn’t think winning three Grand Slams per year was special. It seemed normal. Only later did I realize how unlikely that period was because no one has ever won that many Grand Slams in such a short time. Those results earned us a spot in the International Tennis Hall of Fame. I am grateful to the coaches who believed in me and pushed me to achieve something that no other girl from my country had done before.

I retired in 1997 and wanted nothing to do with tennis. I was burnt out and sick of the sport. After fifteen years of being away from the game I became the director of tennis at a local club because I was ready to get back in the game. I learned about the social side of the sport and fell in love with tennis again. In 2013, I made a life goal to share my knowledge of tennis, specifically doubles. I saw a lot of bad coaching and a misunderstanding of how doubles should be played.  I now travel around the country sharing my knowledge with recreational players and welcome them to my home in Tampa for multi camp camps. 

I learned that there are more ways to enjoy tennis than playing in front of packed stadiums and collecting a paycheck at the end of the week. Most of my life has been spent in tennis but my current role is more fulfilling than being a pro because I am sharing my passion and bringing people joy. 

I am also a mom of eleven-year-old twins and there is no greater joy than seeing their smiles and watching them grow.”

Photo by Behind The Racquet
Photo by Behind The Racquet

If you want to follow Gigi socially make sure you follow her Instagram: click here

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You can check out more Behind The Racquet stories on the link below:

Facebook | Behind The Racquet

Twitter | @BehindTRacquet

Instagram | @behindtheracquet

Also listen to Noah Rubin’s Podcast

Behind the Racquet Pod Mike Cation & Noah Rubin/Tennis Channel Podcast Network

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/behind-the-racquet-pod/id1296708933

and check out his new clothing line!

behindtheracquet.com

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