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The Associated Press

Gigi Fernandez Named South Florida Tennis Coach

July 10, 2002
Copyright © 2002 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

TAMPA, Florida (AP) - Tennis star Gigi Fernandez, winner of 17 Grand Slam titles and a two-time Olympic champion, was named the women's tennis coach at the University of South Florida on Wednesday.

Fernandez, who retired from professional tennis in 1997, was ranked as the world's No. 1 doubles player for most of her final six seasons.

"My goal is to turn the program into a national contender," she said in a statement released by the school. "I'm very excited about this chapter in my life."

Fernandez, 38, won 68 career doubles titles, including six French Opens, five U.S. Opens, four Wimbledons and two Australian Opens.

She captured 14 of her Grand Slams with doubles partner Natasha Zvereva. They won 38 doubles titles and six consecutive Grand Slams from the 1992 French Open through Wimbledon in 1993. It is the second-longest streak behind Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver (eight).

The Puerto Rico native replaces Sherry Bedingfield, who retired this year after 23 years at South Florida. Fernandez has coached the Puerto Rican national team since 1999.

This is the first collegiate coaching job for Fernandez, who won the 1992 and 1996 Olympic women's doubles gold medals with Mary Joe Fernandez.

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