Fernando Gonzalez went down fighting right to the very end. With one of the most feriocuious forehands the game has ever seen, the affable Chilean who spent six years in the ATP’s top 20, played his final match Wednesday night losing to Nicolas Mahut in a tough 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(3) defeat in the first round of Miami.
Gonzalez has been hit hard by injuries, specifically a hip, the last few years that limited his play. Still, the 31-year-old will no doubt go down as one of the greats from Chile and among the best tennis players from South America.
He finishes with 11 career ATP titles, a 2007 Australian Open final, a gold medal in doubles from the 2004 Athens Olympics, singles silver from 2008 Beijing, and he reached a career-high ranking of No. 5.
Following the match Wednesday night, Fernando was honored in an on-court ceremony by ATP Executive Chairman and President Brad Drewett, and Sony Ericsson Open Executive Vice President and Tournament Director Adam Barrett. A special video tribute featuring goodbyes from Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Andy Murray, the Bryan Brothers and David Nalbandian aired on the big screens (video above).
“At the end, the video was great. It’s not only about tennis. It’s also about friends,” Gonzalez said. “I mean, we’ve been playing against each other many times, but at the end of the day we are friends. We have a great relationship. Of course, the atmosphere was great. We’re really far away from Chile, and there was little flags. There was my family here. I had a lot of friends, and I really enjoyed the moment.”
Later, Gonzalez tweeted, “Game over! !”.
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