Giving tennis more than a shot

¡Chau, Feña!

In the first round, there were three must-see matches: the return of Alisa Kleybanova, back after 10 months as she fought and won her battle against cancer, the return of Venus Williams, who hadn’t played since last year’s US Open, as she had been diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, and what ended up being Fernando González’s last match.

 

Sadly, unless we were fortunate enough to be on site (which was not my case nor that of the vast majority of tennis fans), we could not see a second of these matches, as the tournament is not televised until Saturday.

 

And they call themselves “the fifth Slam”…

 

Photo: Alan Diaz/AP

I admit that, despite not being much of a WTA fan, I was bummed to miss the return of Kleybs and Venus, but thrilled and emotional nonetheless that they both won. However, it really broke my heart to be home and forced to follow what ended up being Feña’s last match on a scoreboard, even though, like most, I was home and so willing to see him and cheer for him. We were lucky to have journalists on location live tweeting the match, even though it was not the same as seeing it with our own eyes.

 

For Feña lost to Mahut, 5-7 6-4 6-7(3), and the last point he played was the worst for a career to end: a double fault. However, thanks to ESPN Deportes, we can see some highlights of the match, as well as images from the ceremony that followed, and his last TV interview as a professional player, all this in this almost 8-minute feature (in Spanish).

 

Gracias por todo

I did not always like him, I admit, particularly not in 2008 at the Olympics. But I ended up forgiving him because, let’s face it, Fernando González is a very nice guy.

 

His heart on a tennis court, his intensity, will be missed. And I will never cease to think that his forehand is one of the best there ever was in the game.

 

Photo: Alan Diaz/AP

With his 11 titles, and three Olympic medals (bronze in singles and gold in doubles – with Nicolás Massú – in Athens, 2004, and silver in singles in Beijing, 2008), and having reached one Grand Slam final (Australian Open 2007 – l. to Roger Federer) and been ranked as high as no 5 in the world, González marked the history of Chilean tennis. The Chilean fans loved him and paid him a nice tribute last night, with chants and with a special gesture from some of them as well, who wore shirts that spelled “Gracias”.

 

As was shown in the special ceremony held just after the match, and shortly released afterwards by the ATP, his fellow players were also very keen to show their appreciation to Feña:

 

 

One thing is for sure: like him or not, he left no one indifferent during his career and he will be sorely missed.

 

¡Gracias por todo, Feña! Suerte en lo que viene. ¡Chau!

 

¡Chau, Feña! Photo: REUTERS/Andrew Innerarity

 

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