At the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, Fernando Gonzalez used his big forehand to harass Tommy Haas giving him a 7-5, 6-4 victory. Now, Gonzalez is one match away from making his second final appearance at a tournament where he made his ATP debut a decade ago. After the match, Gonzalez sat down to answer questions and MiamiTennisNews had a few it wanted addressed.
You were so close to getting to the final of another major in Paris. Is there any part of your game you feel you need to work on that will help you get there as you did a couple of years ago?
“I don’t think that there’s anything really I have to change about my game which was demonstrated by the fact that I was so close in Paris. For sure I have to keep improving things. I don’t know, perhaps working more on my serve and net play, but all this gives me peace of mind”.
Your most successful year was 2007, in that you reached the Australian Open final with coach Larry Stefanki, why did the two of you part ways?
“[First of all ] Larry is a great coach and I was with him many years . [However], Larry and I had a major problem, he lives in California and I in Chile….So, I am very grateful for all that he thought me and I have a great respect for him.”
Turning to the semifinals where Juan Martin Del Potro will be his opponent, the last time the two met was the 2007 Australian Open. As far as Gonzalez is concerned, Del Potro is a “different player”. Regardless, there is a level of comfort in knowing “[one] has a winning record” against the other guy.
Commenting on the atmosphere to be expected with his being Chilean and Del Potro Argentinean, would there be any tension? Gonzalez cited “there may be a rivalry between countries, [but not between us players]. Juan Martin and I are really good friends. It should be a good match and should be fun”.
After Wimbledon, Gonzalez took four weeks off due to tendonitis in his right knee. Gonzalez said that the lesion is not as severe as Rafael Nadal’s. With rest and treatment, he has been lucky that the knee has been responding. Thus, he hopes his good run will continue through the remainder of season.
Concerning his forehand, Gonzalez was asked the secret to that stroke being “such a weapon”. Gonzalez answered “I don’t have fear if I miss. If you don’t take a risk, you don’t miss.” In other words, one has to be willing to gamble.