Doubles Legends: Fernandez & Zvereva
Published April 30, 2010 12:00
Fernandez and Zvereva had a stranglehold on the competition in the '90s like Navratilova and Shriver did in the '80s and the Williams sisters have in the 2000s, setting records while winning a plethora of Sony Ericsson WTA Tour titles and Grand Slams. In fact, among teams in the Open Era, Navratilova and Shriver have the most majors with 20, followed by Fernandez and Zvereva with 14 and then the Williams sisters with 11.
Unlike Navratilova and Shriver and the Williamses, the duration of Fernandez and Zvereva's partnership was not extremely long, spanning from 1991-1997. Also, they had plenty of success alongside others, as Fernandez won 30 of her 68 Tour doubles titles with others, and Zvereva won 42 of her 80 with others. Their production during their seven years together was spectacular, though, as they accrued a match record of 265-36, an 88% winning percentage.
Fernandez and Zvereva played two events in 1991, the first year they paired up, and they made deep runs in both, but fell short of victory. That was the only year they ever went titleless as a duo. They wasted little time establishing their dominance in 1992, capturing their first title together as well as their first Slam at Roland Garros. They finished that year with five titles, including three majors. Their stranglehold on the doubles court was even greater in 1993, as they won 11 titles and once again, three majors. In fact, their victory at the US Open was their sixth straight Slam title. 1994 was almost exactly like 1993, with 11 titles again and three majors yet again. Remarkably, they also won the Tour Championships both of those years.
Fernandez and Zvereva slowed down just a bit in 1995, but seven titles and two majors is hardly a slump. Two more titles and one major followed in 1996. Then in 1997, their final year together, they also won just two titles - their 37th and 38th - but they made them count, as they occurred at Roland Garros (where they won five titles, the most of any team in the Open Era) and Wimbledon. Zvereva continued to have success with other partners after Fernandez retired at the end of 1997, but the Belarusian never won another major.
Fernandez and Zvereva traded the No.1 doubles ranking for much of their partnership. Fernandez finished her career with 80 weeks spent at No.1, eighth most all-time, while Zvereva spent 124 weeks there, fourth most all-time.