Gonzalez to bid farewell in Miami
Originally published on: 17/02/12 11:24
After a succession of injuries in recent years, former world No.5 Fernando Gonzalez will end his 12-year professional career at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami next month.
The 31-year-old Santiago native is currently ranked a lowly No.268 in the world after playing just four ATP events last year, and the Chilean admits he decided to call time on his career after realising his body could no longer match up to his ambition.
“I decided to end my career as a professional at the tournament in Miami,” revealed Gonzalez. “I decided to step down and retire out of respect for my career.”
An 11-time tour titlist, Gonzalez is known for his brutishly powerful forehand – a weapon that carried him past the likes of Juan Martin del Potro, Lleyton Hewitt and Rafael Nadal when he reached the 2007 Australian Open final, where Roger Federer eventually mastered him.
A leading ambassador for Chilean sport, Gonzalez won three Olympic medals, including Bronze in singles and gold in doubles alongside Nicolas Massu in Athens in 2004, and silver at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He also achieved quarter-final runs at Wimbledon and the US Open, not to mention a run to the last four at the French Open in 2009. That year, he admits, caused him significant pain, and after hip surgery in October 2010 and a knee injury in 2011, his tour appearances were considerably limited.
Gonzalez has played just two matches in 2012, losing to Joao Souza in the second round on home soil in Vina del Mar, but the Chilean decided even before that event that enough was enough.
“I realised that I no longer have the energy I need to perform how I want,” he said.
“I always said I was going to play until the age of 30 and, in recent months, I thought about the actual decision and I made it about three weeks ago.
“It was very difficult to play at Vina del Mar last week.”
Gonzalez is due to feature at clay tournaments in Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires before calling it quits in Miami, where he made the semi-finals in 2004.