But the experience left Zvereva exhausted and with a distaste for pressure. Her ranking fell to No. 30, and she has yet to rehabilitate it fully. Although nearly everyone considers her capable of being in the Top 5, she has refused since 1990 to employ a full-time coach. "I don't want to live up to anybody else's expectations," she says. "My ambition is fun."
Zvereva's offhandedness hides some dark moods. In her own way she is as high-strung as Fernandez. "The good news is, she has a lot of feelings," Fernandez says. "The bad news is, she keeps it all inside." If Fernandez explodes, Zvereva implodes, becoming sullen and uncommunicative.
When that happens, Fernandez and Zvereva always forgive each other, perhaps because they are aware of their own shortcomings. "There are plenty of times when I act totally weird, so I can't blame her when she explodes," Zvereva says. It was both hilarious and appropriate, then, when Fernandez and Zvereva began linking themselves to those incorrigible MTV characters. At a party before Wimbledon last summer, the pair delivered a sniggering satire of themselves. Fernandez, as Butt-Head, sneered, "I want to do something bad." Zvereva, as Beavis, urged her on. "Cool," she cackled. "Do it. Do it."
With that, Fernandez seized a racket and reduced it to smithereens before the roaring crowd.