Gigi Fernandez was born in 1964 in San Juan Puerto Rico. For her 8th birthday her parents gave her a gift of tennis lessons. Inspired and displaying a natural talent for the game, she was ranked number one in Puerto Rico as a junior player. This enabled her to win an athletic scholarship to Clemson University in South Carolina. Prior to turning professional, she played tennis for one season at Clemson University, in 1982-83, where she was a singles and doubles All-American and reached the National Collegiate Athletics Association singles final. She turned pro in 1985 and was the first female athlete from her native Puerto Rico to turn professional. Fernandez was skilled as a singles player, but she found her greatest success in doubles. Fernandez won 17 Grand Slam doubles titles and two Olympic gold medals representing the United States of America, and reached the World No. 1 ranking in women's doubles. She reached a career high singles ranking of 17 in 1991. Since retiring from the professional tour in 1997 at the age of 33, she has since focused on being a tennis coach and entrepreneur. She has also focused on her education, earning a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of South Florida and a Masters in Business Administration.