By Leonard Rodriguez
This column highlights inspiring stories of Latino leaders. For more than 500 years, Latino men and women have positively influenced the face of United States society. Let us celebrate these outstanding hispanics.

Mary Joe Fernandez

Born in 1971 in the Dominican Republic, Mary Joe Fernandez moved with her family to Miami when she was 3. Tagging along with her father and sister to the tennis courts, Fernandez evolved to an incredible tennis player by age 10. A championship player among her age group, she turned pro at 14 and played in her first Wimbledon match while still balancing her high school classes. By 1991, she was ranked among the top 10 players in the world and earned over $1 million.

She brought home the gold in women’s doubles and the bronze in singles at the Barcelona Summer Olympics. A superb tennis champion, Fernandez has been ranked among such greats as Steffi Graff, Gabriela Sabatini and Monica Seles.