Why I love Melbourne - Fernando Gonzalez
I am so happy to be back in Melbourne. It’s one of my favourite cities and it seems like even though we are a long way from everywhere, everyone is at home here.
I have had great results at the Australian Open, like when I made the final in 2007 and I’m lucky that I feel at home on the court as well as off the court.
I have been here since 9th January so I am settled in. I am staying at one of the player hotels in the city and I have had a chance to go to some of my favourite places here. I went to the zoo and the aquarium and I had a great time at both of those places. I visited it two years ago before the tournament but that time we didn’t see that much. This time I got really close to the koalas and the kangeroos and it was amazing – we didn’t get to hold the koalas, though, because they were all asleep. I think they do that a lot.
The aquarium was fun, too. My favourite part was the King penguins and I surprised how fast they could swim. They look kind of funny but they are pretty quick through the water. I like to walk around Melbourne because it’s very safe and very nice to look around and you can be in the city and in ten minutes you are at the beach, which I love. St Kilda is great and I went to Luna Park, which has a very old rollercoaster. It was a bit bumpy!
As well as sightseeing and lots of practice and working in the gym, I have been going to some really great restaurants, which is always a good thing to do here. When you are competing you always eat a lot of Italian food because you need to eat a lot of carbohydrates and there are some good Italian places to go in Chapel Street. I like Japanese food too and Chapel Street has a few places that I have tried. I’ve been coming here for about 10 years now so I have a few favourites.
Of course I feel very comfortable on the court, because whenever you have had good results somewhere it helps. I always got really good support here because there are loads of Chileans and they make it a fantastic atmosphere to play in. I met the Chilean ambassador a couple of years ago and he told me that there are only 8,000 Chileans here and I think nearly all of them come to the tennis. Their best chant is ‘Chi, Chi, Chi, le, le, le’ and I love it when I hear that. You can hear almost everything that people shout and it really inspires you.
The fans make the Australian Open great. As well as the Chileans, there are the Dutch, the Swedish, the Croatians, the Serbians and loads of other tennis fans from all over the world. Of course the Chileans are the best, and I hope that I can give them a lot to cheer about in my next match. They are going to be pretty excited.
Haha I really like this interview! And I too love the Chi Chi Chi, Le Le le, Viva Chile chant, its one of the few I've actually been able to do myself