Gigi Fernandez, a tennis hall of famer and former player on the WTA professional tour, recently became a certified Professional 1 member of the United States Professional Tennis Association, the world's oldest and largest association of tennis-teaching professionals.
Fernandez, who turned pro at the age of 17, won 17 Grand Slam titles and two Olympic Gold Medals. She was consistently ranked No. 1 in doubles from 1991 to 1995. She has also dedicated time to working with Puerto Rico's Fed Cup and Olympic teams. She was also named Puerto Rico's Female Athlete of the Century in 1999. Fernandez is the president of the Gigi Fernandez Charitable Foundation and the director of tennis at Chelsea Piers, a 400,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art sports and recreation facility in Stamford, Conn.
"We're extremely proud to have Gigi join the ranks of many of the famous players as members of USPTA," said USPTA CEO Tim Heckler. "We're honored to now call her a professional tennis coach."
The USPTA certification process provides assurance that the tennis-teaching professional's knowledge and abilities have been tested thoroughly. There are three rating classifications for each newly certified USPTA member, which are Professional 3, Professional 2 and Professional 1. Professional 1 represents the highest tested level in USPTA certification. A candidate must be at least 22 years old and have at least three years or five seasons of teaching experience. The candidate must pass the on-court and written portions of the certification exam.