30 augustus 2019

Four-midable: Gustavo Fernandez eyes wheelchair tennis Grand Slam

Tijdens de 2019 ParaPan American Games in Lima sprak ik met rolstoeltennisser Gustavo Fernandez over zijn topjaar 2019. De Argentijn won de Australian Open, Roland Garros en Wimbledon. 

In Lima sprak ik met hem over nieuw succes. 

Gustavo Fernandez Lima 2019

Four-midable: Gustavo Fernandez eyes wheelchair tennis Grand Slam

Gold at the Australian Open? Check. Gold at Roland Garros? Check. Gold at Wimbledon? Check. Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez is on a winning streak this year.

And on Friday he added another title to the list by claiming Parapan American Games gold in the men’s singles at Lima 2019.

That gold medal was his warm-up towards his next goal: gold at the US Open.

At Lima 2019, the 25-year-old Argentine not only clinched gold in the men’s singles, but also won the men’s doubles with team-mate Agustin LEDESMA, who he beat for singles gold by 2-0 [6-1, 6-1].

“This result is huge for me. Every competition is a new and important experience. I am happy that I can pull it off each and every time and that I am able to put myself in this position,” said FERNANDEZ.

By taking home the men’s singles gold at Lima 2019, FERNANDEZ grabbed his third Parapan title after Guadalajara 2011 and Toronto 2015.

But for FERNANDEZ, Lima 2019 was only a warm-up. The wheelchair tennis star travels to New York, United States on Sunday to compete in the US Open.

“A big challenge awaits me there,” he said, referring to his possible fourth major title of the year, and the chance of completing tennis’ Grand Slam.

“Of course, I would love to win again and take that fourth title. But it will be hard. It’s been a rough year. I have been playing a lot. You need to stay fit, get ready for the next match.

“Here I played on clay, next week I’ll play on hard court. It’s difficult at times. But I will try to keep going.

“I don’t see my previous results and being the current number one in the world as a form of pressure.

“Instead I see it the other way around. Being the best in the world is an award for me, my family and everyone that supports me. It feels great to be in that position. It’s a result of all the hard work I put into the sport.”

Being the number one in the world has been FERNANDEZ’s dream since he took up wheelchair tennis at the age of six.

“I used to say I wanted to play at the NBA of wheelchair basketball. But when I took up tennis, I said I wanted to become the number one ranked player. When I was a kid, everyone would laugh about that dream.

“But I held on to it, even without knowing what kind of sacrifices I would have to make to achieve it. When I found out about all the things that I had to do, I still wanted to become the best I could be.

“This sport is my passion, my life. I get to do what I love for a living and I really enjoy every single part of the road.

“I am a brave player. I like to take risks in order to win. That takes courage. To me, that is something important. I’d do anything for gold.”

By taking gold at Lima 2019, FERNANDEZ also qualified for his third Paralympic Games after London 2012 and Rio 2016.