USA TODAY SPORTS
Learn more about Team USA’s doubles specialist Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
The United States’ Bethanie Mattek-Sands (born Bethanie Mattek) is a self-described “adrenaline junkie” with a flashy fashion sense, one that’s earned her a reputation as “the Lady Gaga of tennis”. But more importantly, Mattek-Sands is one of the world’s top doubles players. By year-end 2015, she was ranked World No. 3 in women’s doubles by the Women’s Tennis Association.
Mattek-Sands was born in Rochester, Minnesota on March 23, 1985 to parents Tim and Heidi. She began playing tennis at 5 years old, inspired by her dad; Mattek-Sands says on her website she “nearly knocked [her father] over” with her powerful shots.
Mattek-Sands loved all sports as a child, and possessed a particularly fierce competitive spirit. She often practiced with her father and her golden retriever, Rocky, who would pick up stray tennis balls.
Mattek-Sands is known for her eccentric fashion sense.
Mattek-Sands is known for her eccentric fashion sense. Credit: Susan Mullane/US Presswire
When not whacking tennis balls, Mattek-Sands also played piano. She has one younger sister, Alison (nicknamed “Tsiony”), and two younger brothers, Chaddy and Andrew (“Boom Boom”). Mattek-Sands also has a twin named Sania; together, they sometimes refer to themselves as “the Bryan Sisters” – a reference to tennis twins Bob and Mike Bryan.
A more detailed (and highly entertaining) biography is available on Mattek-Sands’ website. The athlete made her professional debut at just 14 years old in 1999.
As of July 2016, Mattek-Sands has won 19 WTA doubles titles. However, she has also performed well at the Grand Slam tournaments’ singles competitions in recent years.
Best Grand Slam singles results:
Australian Open: Third round, 2015
French Open: Fourth round, 2013
Wimbledon: Fourth round, 2008
US Open: Third round, 2015
Best Grand Slam doubles results:
Australian Open: Winner, 2015 (alongside the Czech Republic’s Lucie Safarova)
French Open: Winner, 2015 (alongside the Czech Republic’s Lucie Safarova)
Wimbledon: Semifinals, 2010 (alongside the United States’ Liezel Huber)
US Open: Quarterfinals, 2007 (alongside India’s Sania Mirza), 2009 (alongside Russia’s Nadia Petrova), 2010 (alongside the United States’ Meghann Shaughnessy)
Best Grand Slam mixed doubles results:
Australian Open: Winner, 2012 (alongside Romania’s Horia Tecau)
French Open: Winner, 2015 (alongside the United States’ Mike Bryan)
Wimbledon: Semifinals, 2015 (alongside the United States’ Mike Bryan)
US Open: Final, 2015 (alongside the United States’ Sam Querrey)
The Rio Games will serve as Mattek-Sands’ first Olympic experience.
Off the court:
Even while competing, Mattek-Sands has a very distinct fashion sense that has earned her the nickname “America’s Tennis Rock Star”. She often dyes her hair and wears knee-high compression socks.
In 2008, Mattek became Mattek-Sands when she married her “best friend … and Brett Favre lookalike” Justin “Bubs”. They have a huge South African Boerboel Mastiff dog named Ruger.
“I feel like my style on court helps me be a better player, because it’s me, it’s who I am.”
Bethanie Mattek-Sands to The Daily Mail