There is no event in tennis in which the Chilean Fernando Francisco González Ciuffardi goes unnoticed, from his origins in a club in Santiago to the United States, where he moved with his family during his childhood, when he was the best in the world among players under 14.
His talent became clear from his adolescence, when at the age of 17 he became junior doubles champion of the US Open and Roland Garros, where he also won the singles competition. At the end of his career as a junior player he reached the quarter final in singles and second place in doubles.
With 11 championships as a professional, those that stand out include first place in Orlando (2000), where he beat his friend and countryman Nicolás Massú, Basel (2005), and another four in Viña del Mar, the only ATP tournament in his country. He also reached the finals of the Master’s 1000 in Madrid and Rome (2006 and 2007) and of the Australian Open (2007).
The “La Reina Bomber”, a nickname that alludes to his violent forehand and the Santiago district where still lives, has always recognized the additional incentive he receives from playing for his country. He debuted in the Davis Cup at the age of 17 and led Chile to the quarter finals of the tournament in 2006.
The Olympic Games also suit the tennis player from Santiago. In Athens 2004 he won the gold medal in the doubles competition – together with Massú, who also won gold in singles – and bronze in singles. Upon their return to Chile they traveled around the city in a roofless bus and, despite the fact that it was a work day, thousands of people went out to see them and cheer them in the streets. That morning, on Monday 13 September 2004, they were also received in the La Moneda Palace by then President Ricardo Lagos.
After participating in the Master’s Cup in Shanghai, Fernando González returned to the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 and went home with the silver medal, losing in the final to the Spaniard Rafael Nadal, at the time the best player in the world.
While playing on a team that also included the best national specialist of all times, Marcelo “Chino” Ríos, in 2003 and 2004 Fernando Gonzalez also obtained the World Cup by Teams in Dusseldorf, Germany, when the Chileans defeated the Czech Republic and Australia.
This post is also available in Spanish