Zina Garrison
Tennis
Sterling High School


Professional Tennis Player

Biography

Zina Lynna Garrison (born November 16, 1963 in Houston, Texas) is a former professional tennis player from the United States. During her career, she was a women's singles runner-up at Wimbledon in 1990, a three-time Grand Slam mixed doubles champion, and a women's doubles Gold Medalist at the 1988 Olympic Games.

An African-American and the youngest of seven children, Garrison started playing tennis at the age of 10 and entered her first tournament at the age of 12. Her success as a junior player quickly made the tennis world take notice. At the age of 14 she won the national girls' 18s title. And then in 1981, she won both the Wimbledon and US Open junior titles and was ranked the World No. 1 junior player. Garrison graduated from Sterling High School in Houston in 1982. [1]

Garrison began suffering from the eating disorder bulimia when she was 19, following the death of her mother. [2]

"I had never been comfortable with my looks and felt I had lost the only person who loved me unconditionally," Garrison told the British Observer Sport Monthly in 2006. "The pressure of being labeled 'the next Althea Gibson' only made things worse. I felt I was never going to be allowed to grow into just becoming me."

Garrison turned professional in 1982, and skipped her graduation at Ross Sterling High School to compete in the French Open, her first tournament as a professional, where she reached the quarter-finals before being knocked-out by Martina Navrátilová.

Despite battling bulimia during her first few years on the tour, Garrison enjoyed notable success on-court. She reached the Australian Open semi-finals in her first full year on the tour - 1983 - and finished the year ranked the World No. 10. She won her first top-level singles titles in 1984 at the European Indoor Championships in Zurich. She was a Wimbledon semi-finalist in 1985, and in 1986 she won her first tour doubles at the Canadian Open (partnering Gabriela Sabatini).

At the Australian Open in 1987, Garrison won the mixed doubles (partnering Sherwood Stewart) and finished runner-up in the women's doubles (partnering Lori McNeil). A year later, Garrison and Stewart captured the mixed doubles title at Wimbledon.

At the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Garrison teamed with Pam Shriver to win the women's doubles Gold Medal for the United States, defeating Jana Novotná and Helena Suková of Czechoslovakia in the final 4–6, 6–2, 10–8. And Garrison defeated Shriver in the quarter-finals of the singles event, where she won a Bronze Medal.

In 1989, Garrison defeated Chris Evert 7–6, 6–2 in the quarter-finals of the US Open in what proved to be the final WTA singles match of Evert's career. Garrison subsequently lost to Navrátilová in the semi-finals. She finished 1989 ranked a career-high World No. 4 in singles.

The highlight of Garrison's career came in 1990 at Wimbledon. She defeated the French Open champion Monica Seles in the quarter-finals 3–6, 6–3, 9–7 and the defending Wimbledon champion and World No. 1 Steffi Graf in the semi-finals 6–3, 3–6, 6–4 to reach her first (and only) Grand Slam singles final. There she faced Martina Navrátilová who was gunning for a record ninth women's singles title at Wimbledon, and lost 4–6, 1–6. However Garrison claimed her third Grand Slam mixed doubles title at Wimbledon that year (partnering Rick Leach).

In 1992 Garrison finished runner-up in the Australian Open women's doubles (partnering Mary Joe Fernandez).

Garrison retired from the professional tour in 1996. During her career, she won 14 top-level singles titles and 20 doubles titles.

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