She may have retired from professional tennis play in 2000… But that isn’t stopping Mary Joe Fernández from heading to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
The 40-year-old Dominican American tenista will serve as the U.S. captain of the women’s tennis team at the games.
Fernández, who won three medals of her own in two Olympics appearances, was formally introduced on Tuesday by the U.S. Tennis Association.
“When I look back at my career, the highlight was being at the Olympics,” said the tennis commentator and ESPN analyst who won a gold and bronze medal at the 1992 Barcelona Games and a gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. “Just being a part of it, something you’ve watched on TV as a little kid and cheered, and then all of a sudden you go to being there. You ask yourself, ‘Is this really happening?’ I’m really lucky to get to be part of that all again. Three times, wow, I’m very lucky to get to do this again.”
Fernández will await the nomination process of her team, which will kick off with the release of the post-French Open rankings on June 11. The Olympic tournament runs July 28 through Aug. 5 and will be held at the All England Club, the site of Wimbledon.
She’ll likely have Venus Williams and Serena Williams, Christina McHale and Varvara Lepchenko, plus doubles players Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond on her team.
The team will be finalized by the USTA and the International Tennis Federation, then submitted to the U.S. Olympic Committee for final nomination to the London Games in the
One of Fernández’s biggest challenges: monitoring the health of Venus Williams, who is hoping to play singles, doubles with her sister Serena, and mixed doubles, all while dealing with the symptoms of Sjorgen’s syndrome.
“Venus has been very open with me with about how she’s feeling, which I appreciate,” said Fernández, who also is the U.S. Fed Cup captain. “She’s been fantastic in letting me know what’s going on, and that’s important for us to know. She’s done an incredible job getting her ranking up so she can be on the team. We’ll see how everybody does at Wimbledon and make some decisions going forward. I think we’re all just really excited about heading to London, especially Wimbledon, for the Olympics.”