[Second part of the interview]
TM : You share Horacio de la Peña with another young talented player, Jose Acasuso from Argentina. With him, would you say that there's a friendship ?
FG : Yes, with Jose, we are really good friends. He is 2 years younger than me but I don't remember exactly since how many years I know him : several years, maybe 6. In 2002, we often travelled together. We have met 4 times.
TM : A few minutes ago, you said that you worked with Horacio, you improved your backhand. But, your forehand is your best stroke. Pete Sampras says that it's a nuclear power and Sjeng Schalken says that it's a road roller. Some even say that it's at the moment, the most powerful forehand on the atp tour...
FG : It's true that when it's in the court, it's perfect but... I could kill someone (laugh) ! The forehand is my best stroke. I love hitting them all and try to win matches only with this stroke. I have always had this stroke, but now I missed less points with it, that what makes the difference. When I was a junior, I had the feeling that my ball didn't enter in the court (smile). Finally, I like that, that people say that I'm an "explosive" (or spark) player.
TM : Early, you have been passionnated by tennis. Until when have you studied ?
FG : I've been to school until the age of 14 then I went to a school with other persons practricing sports. They helped me a lot cause they knew how it was, to travel and study at the same time and to not be able to attend to the courses.
TM : And what did you like at school ?
FG : Nothing (smile). No, but it's true that when I was a child, I was only thinking about playing tennis and everybody told me at school. During my holidays, I was playing tennis. I don't think I'd do other thing.
TM : Today, on the atp tour, you face the best players in the world. Who are, according to you, the toughest players to beat ?
FG : When Marat Safin plays good, I think he's unbeatable and his forehand is as powerful as mine. Andy Roddick has an incredible serve. There are other competitive players at the moment. And, L. Hewitt... He runs everywhere...
TM : In Cincinnati, in the semis, you pushed him until the 3rd set
FG : Yes, but he's very tough to play because if you can't make the ball advance fast, he's everywhere and he gives the feeling that the court is smaller. He has just hit the ball from one side, he's already on the other side. You have to hit harder and played in the corners if you want to win points. He's very impressive. He's an excellent athlete, a real fighter and it's for those reasons that he's number 1.
TM : When you were a child, your favourite player was Boris Becker. For which reason ?
FG : Before all, it was because he had a lot of charism. I remember of his first victories in Wimbledon, I had 5 or 6 years old. I was at home in Chile, I was watching him on tv and jumped and made incredible volleys. I immediately liked his way of play and I still like him today but I have a different game.
TM : Players who made the experience, say that playing and winning the Davis Cup is an incredible feeling. Is it an important competition for you ?
FG : YEs, I was going to the stadium with my father to attend to the Davis Cup matches. It was the glorious period of Gildemeister, and I was only starting to play tennis. I dreamt to be there, in this stadium, and play for Chile. I was thinking : "It's what I really want to do ". When the D Day arrived, the first time I played for Chile, against Argentina, I was moved. I was 17.
TM : You weren't born at that period, but in 1976, Chile played at home, a Davis Cup final vs Italy. Is it an important memory for your family ?
FG : Chile lost 1-4. Of course, I wasn't born, but my father was there and he told me how it was. Italy had a strong team with Panatta, who was at the top. In 1975, the Chileans went to the semies, they lost to Sweden. But, the players arrived the day before the beginning of the matches, due to political problems in Chile.
TM : In Chile, tennis is a real tradition, Chile used to have great players..
FG : Ayala, Fillol, Gildemeister, Rios... Yes, it's true, tennis is very popular in Chile, especially since the DC final. But, from Gildemeister till Rios, about 8 years without a good player. And, now, we are three who are succeeding : Marcelo Rios, Nicolas Massu and myself. We are still young, and we have the time to make something in Davis Cup
TM : How do you explain the good health of the Chilean tennis ?
FG : You have to be good and you have to work hard to become good. It's the secret
TM : It's the secret of the South-American tennis as well ?
FG : It's true that everything is ok now for the "latinos" and especially for the players from Argentina : there are about 7 in the top 50. Six years ago, the south-americans were only two in the top 100. Today, we are about 15. It's easier to travel for us. We didn't have a lot of money a few years ago due to our political problems. Now, life is less tough, we can easily travel.
TM : You are very close to Chile ?
FG :I love my country. And, if there's a place I'd like to get old, it's at home. I regret to not be able to spend a lot of time there at the moment, because the most important thing in life is to be close to one's family and friends. But the funny thing is that when I think to Chile, I often think of the tennis courts. When I was a child, the club where I learnt tennis was at 20 meters from my home. Today, they rebuilt the Reina club further and it's not like before.
TM : So, your victory in 2002, in Viña del Mar, Chile, must be one of your best memories ?
FG : Winning a grand slam is the most important thing but winning this title remains one of my best memories so far. Because i was playing at home, in front of my family and friends, the stadium was crowded, and cheered up me by screaming my name. At the end of the match, i wore the soccer outfit from the Chilean Team, it was an incredible experience.
TM : Could you say a few words about your family ?
FG : I have two sisters : one older than me, Patricia and one younger than me, Jessica. They both like tennis a lot but play just for fun. Patricia used to play for the university team of Miami and then North Carolina but she stopped. Jessica, goes to school and hits the ball. My mother, Patricia, plays for fun as well and my father, Fernando, has been the president of the Reina Club where i started to play. My mother doesn't work and my father is a businessman specialised in the flour mill. He has a lot of work, in Chile, we eat a lot of bread (laugh) !
TM : What are your hobbies when you don't play tennis ?
FG : I love surfing on the net. During the tournaments, I have my portable computer, I check my e-mails and I chat a lot. I'm crazy of computers, games etc.. I like writing e-mails to my friends in Chile. I can't do that everyday but I try whenever it's possible. With my family, we stay in touch by phone, everyday.
TM : When you walk in the stadiums or when you go to watch others matches, you often have your walkman. What kind of music do you listen ?
FG : I love that, music (smile) ! I listen every kind of music, but I love LA LEY, a very good Chilean band. But, I don't really have a favourite singer or a style of music I listen the most. There are too much singers I like, I can't really say that I have a favourite.
TM : A Chilean newspaper said that you were one of the most important bachelors. We can even read that you are "the best match" of Chile ?
FG : How do you know that ? (laugh) What can I answer ? I read that article as well, but they didn't contact me to write it. It's pleasant. If they want to write that I'm single and rich, no problem !!
TM : Is it easy with the girls, now, that you are famous and popular, and that people say many good things about you ?
FG : Oh no, it's never easy (laugh) ! But, it's funny to read what people write such things about me. I simply try to do my job, to play a good tennis, you know. According to me, you have to play well and have good results to have after, the attention of the medias outside the "sports" page. So, if they like to talk about me like that, why not.
TM : You are not the most popular player in Chile. There's also Marcelo Rios. Do you have a good relationship with him ?
FG : Good relations. We are not friends because I think that a friend, you don't search him, we make a friend by accident : we find eachother. So, we are not really friends with Marcelo, but we know eachother very well and for a long time. There is not rivalty between us, the Chilean newspapers wrote that. Sometimes, when we are both in Chile, we practrice together, we often eat and talk together, we spend good time.
TM : How is he with you ? Because he's know for his bad temper..
FG : People don't know all the different aspects of his personnality. He sometimes behaves strangely (smile), but when you meet him several times, you realize that he's a normal person. Maybe, it's a way to protect himself from the people he doesn't know.
TM : Marcelo said many good things about your tennis, he said that you were talentuous
FG : Really, he said that ? I didn't know. It moves me because I love watching him play. I remember when I was young and he was in the top 10. When I had the opportunity, I went to see him play, especially in Davis Cup. I love his game and I feel very fortunate to be able to practrice with him because he's a great player
TM : He has been number 1 in the world. And you, what is your goal ?
FG : My dream is to enter in the top 10 and to win a grand slam tournament.
TM : Which one ?
FG : No matter what !! But, Roland-Garros will remain my favourite
The interview is finished. Hope you enjoyed reading it