María José (Mary Joe) Fernández Godsick
Professional Tennis Player
Born August 19, 1971
Mary Joe Fernandez Godsick was a top-tier professional tennis player during the late-80’s and 90’s, winning three Grand Slam Singles tournaments and two Grand Slam Doubles titles, along with two Olympic gold medals.
In 1985, Fernandez competed at the US Open, becoming the youngest player to win a main draw match at the Grand Slam tournament (age 14). Following her jump to the national stage, she turned pro in 1986.
Mary Joe’s professional success began as a doubles player, winning her first doubles title in Dallas in 1986. In 1990, Fernandez finished first for the first time in singles at the Tokyo Indoor championships, and followed that up by 1990 Australian Open Final appearance, where she fell to Steffi Graff. Due to her success, she finished as the number 4 singles player in the world in the 1990 ranking.
Over the next several years Fernandez’ success continued and she achieved several accolades, including a number of Grand Slam and Olympic titles in women’s doubles. Her first Grand Slam Title came at the 1991 Australian Open in women’s doubles, and then her first Olympic Gold came in 1992 in Barcelona – also in women’s doubles. She also won the doubles title at the 1996 French Open, and won the 1996 Olympic Gold for women’s doubles as well.
She retired from professional tennis in 2000 and is now a top-tennis commentator for ESPN, serving as an analyst for the network during a number of big tournaments throughout the tennis season.
Mary Joe has made it known that prayer and family have always been two of the most important things in her life. “I grew up in a very faithful home,” per christiantoday.com.
“We went to church every Sunday. My parents taught me morals and values, and passed their faith down to me.”
Fernandez’ faith has helped her in weathering the tough times which she has encountered over the years, including injuries, etc.
“I really think I would have lost it by now if it weren’t for my faith,” said Mary Joe.
Alex Brasky is the creator of local sports website www.bataviasbest.org.