Fernandez to Serve as the U.S. Women’s Tennis Team Coach at the Olympics

Mary Joe Fernandez is ready to help the U.S. see gold in Rio…

The 44-year-old Dominican American tennis player will coach the U.S. women’s tennis team at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

Mary Joe Fernandez

The U.S. Tennis Association announced the Olympic coaching staff on Thursday.

The Olympic tennis competition runs from Aug. 6-14.

Fernandez has coached the U.S. Fed Cup team since 2009, and she coached the women’s Olympic tennis team four years ago.

As a player, she won gold medals in doubles at the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games.

“To be able to represent the U.S. for a fourth time at the Olympics is a tremendous honor,” Fernandez said. “I’m excited and looking forward to helping the top American women as they look to capture medals in Rio.”

The U.S. tennis roster for Rio will be announced in the coming weeks.

Garcia: The Unofficial MVP During France’s Fed Cup Matches Against the United States

Caroline Garcia is having a banner year… And, she’s got this week’s Fed Cup results to prove it.

The 20-year-old half-Spanish tennis player almost singlehandedly led France to a 3-2 upset of the United States in the international Fed Cup competition on Sunday.

Caroline Garcia

Garcia had a hand in all three of her country’s victories. She beat the USA’s Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens in singles matches early in the meet before joining teammate Virginie Razzano to win the decisive doubles match.

“I’m not sure what I’m doing differently,” she said. “I don’t know. I guess it’s working, so I’ll try to keep doing it, whatever it is.”

France qualified for the World Group in 2015 and will compete for the Fed Cup championship.

The USA is relegated to World Group II for next year.

Garcia and Razzano beat Stephens and Keys 6-2, 7-5 in the fifth and deciding match of the best-of-five, two-day competition held at Chaifetz Arena on the campus of Saint Louis University.

Garcia, ranked 51st in the world, came from out of nowhere to capture her first WTA championships in winning both the singles and double titles in the Claro Open Colsanitas in Bogota, Columbia, on April 13.

She carried the momentum from those victories into the Fed Cup.

“She was totally amazing, unbelievable,” France captain Amelie Mauresmo said. “She really rose to the occasion and was fearless.”

Garcia and Razzano used a pair of nifty passing shots to break Stephens’ serve in the 11th game of the second set. The pair won the lengthy 14-point game to take a 6-5 lead. Razzano then served out the match.

Garcia began her run by beating Stephens 6-3, 6-2 in the opening match on Saturday.

“She was the star of the weekend,” USA captain Mary Jo Fernandez said. “I never thought that she got nervous in any of the matches. She’s really aggressive and it’s all coming together.”

France played Sunday without its top player, Alize Cornet, who suffered a groin injury in a three-set loss to Keys on Saturday.

Fernandez took a chance on using Keys and Stephens in the series-deciding doubles match. The duo of Lauren Davis and Christina McHalewas originally slated to play.

But Fernandez chose to go with the two singles players even though they were coming off tough matches earlier in the day. Keys had just 35 minutes of rest after her loss to Garcia.

“I was trying to go with the players that had big weapons and (could) impose their game on the French,” Fernandez said.

Said Keys: “Not very often do you finish a match and go out again (35) minutes later. I was a little bit more tired.”

Fernández to Captain the 2012 Women’s Olympic Tennis Team…

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.

Mary Joe Fernandez

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.”

Mary Joe Fernandez

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.”