Re: Gonzo Articles and News
I found an old article about Fernando in one of my French tennis mag. Here's the translation.
The hitter with a great heart
The "surprise" of this Roland-Garros was Martin Verkerk, and not Fernando Gonzalez, the man, Fabrice Santoro was saying at the beginning of the tournament that he was a dangerous threat.
It was his first participation in the French championships, Marcelo Rios' sucessor as the number 1 player from Chile, has amazed the French audience of the center court "Philippe Chatrier" with his powerful serve and forehand and the audacity of his tennis, he only fell in 5 sets to Ferrero in the quarters. But, it's been two years that the biceps and the thighs of this "Popeye" from Santiago, 23 years old, next july 29th, he makes fear everyone on the atp tour.
Gonzalez already won 3 atp titles, all on clay : Orlando in 2000 and last year Viña del Mar and Palermo. Fast courts are not a problem for him, he made the 1/8 final last year in the Australian Open, made the final in Basel (indoor), his semi in Cincinatti where he defeated Clément, Henman, Krajicek and Roddick and finally, his first great quarter final in a grand slam, at the US OPEN, lost in the tie-break of the 5th set against the Dutch Sjeng Schalken. In the 3rd round, he defeated Juan-Carlos Ferrero. At the end of the year 2002, he was number 18 and started the year at the number 135 in the atp ranking, he was the second substitute for the Masters Cup in Shanghai.
This year, till Roland-Garros, he only made 3 quarters but one of his quarters was during the MS Hamburg with victories on : Olivier Mutis, Felix Mantilla and L.Hewitt (smashed 6/0 in the 3rd set). The last surprised of Gonzalez's results in Roland-Garros were his unhappy opponents : Gambill, Portas, Schalken and Nieminen. Concerning Ferrero, the only one who left the court as a winner after his 6th match point with a terrible fear to not be able to finish the match. He didn't search to hide his febrility that Gonzalez makes, he lost two of their last matches on the tour (on fast courts) but also... the Roland-Garros Juniors final in 1998 !
"I can't play my best tennis against Fernando", Ferrero said. "I don't know what to expect from him and it makes me nervous, it's tough to adapt to the speed of his strokes. He doesn't let you breathe, and I'm not the only one to have difficulties against him".
He's coached by Horacio de la Peña, a former player from Argentina, Fernando Gonzalez started to play tennis at the age of 5, in Santiago. He resisted to play football, another sport where he excelled. And, he decided to play tennis, thanks to the reputation of Roland-Garros in South America. "I have always dreamed of Roland-Garros in front of my tv" he said in an interview for French tennis magazine (cf Tennis mag 325). For me, and for all the South Americains and the spaniards, all the latinos, Roland-Garros, is very special, it's the biggest tournament in the world"
He qualified for the 3rd round last year, Gonzalez was a bit unlucky this year, his game is based on the speed and the punch and he thought that the balls were slower than they used to be.
One of his regrets in his match against Ferrero was his lack of first balls. For the rest, Fernando reminds that his favourite player has always been Boris Becker and he says simply : "I have always wanted to hit the ball the strongest as I could, the forehand is my best stroke. I hit it so strongly, I try sometimes to win my matches only with my strong forehand !"
Fernando is appreciated on the tour for his simplicity, his kindness, he's perceived differently comparing to his famous irascible compatriot, Marcelo Rios, Gonzalez again showed that he was a hitter with a big heart when he hug Ferrero and he said him in his ear : "Congrats for your victory. I hope you'll win the tournament because you are a great player, a nice guy and I like you". Here's a player who didn't leave the court under the whistles...
Last edited by enqvistfan; 01-15-2006 at 12:32 PM.