Wiggle It Like Zina


What do you know about Zina Garrison? We undertook this episode because we knew we didn’t know enough. Zina Garrison is often seen as a bridge between Althea Gibson and the Williams sisters, a trailblazer along with Lori McNeil; but, we want to spend some time highlighting her own accomplished career and electrifying game. We look at Garrison’s unique story and ask what it tells us about tennis history and where we are now. With the benefit of hindsight, how do we view Zina differently in 2020 than journalists did in 1985? How do we situate her achievements? And why doesn’t the tennis world -- including us, up until a few days ago -- know more about Zina Garrison?


0:30 What we hope to accomplish with this episode and what our reservations are

6:10 Zina’s resume - gold medal, 14 titles, Wimbledon runner-up

10:10 Zina’s origins - Houston, Texas baby

14:00 What did her game look like? The speed, volleys, slice, overhead, and the wiggle

22:15 Wimbledon 1990, a run for the ages: Zina beats Sukova, Seles, Graf and garners a million in endorsements

35:15 You can’t tell Zina Garrison’s story without Ora Washington, Althea Gibson, and of course, Lori McNeil

43:00 How Zina was covered by the 1980s/90s sports media: poverty, insularity, and underachievement

53:40 What was it like to be a black woman in the 1980s WTA?

60:45 Zina’s post-career philanthropy and activism: the Zina Garrison Academy welcomes tens of thousands of kids, free of charge

72:00 Reflecting on what we learned, and Garrison’s place in the game

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