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“Take the diaper off!”: When González made his debut in Davis instead of Chino in Argentina at age 17



17-year-old Fernando González stunned the tennis world by replacing the world No. 1 in his historic Davis Cup debut on enemy territory in Argentina.

Chile There are countless stories about davis cup , through endless keys, historic wins, off-the-field mistakes, and unforgettable games.He starred in one of the many Fernando Gonzalez .

On April 5, 1998, at just 17 years old, the now-retired tennis player made his debut in the national team uniform in a match for a white sports team.

He did it against all odds and in a hostile scenario after being injured. Marcelo Rios then a great figure in Chilean sport, reaching number 1 in the ATP rankings.

In the semifinals of America Zone I, Chile was scheduled to visit Argentina in Buenos Aires . Captain Patricio Cornejo called up ‘Chino’, Hermes Gamonal and youngsters Nicolas Massu and González.

“Feña” told Punto de Brake that he did not expect to take part in the match, as the singles players were Rios and Gamonal, while Masu was an option in the doubles.

But 15 minutes before the fourth goal, Cornejo approached him and asked: “Do you have any clothes to play with?” .

Argentina is number 1 in the world

The existence of “Chino” Rios, Who reached the top of the world rankings a week ago was a huge attraction for the Trans-Andean fans who flocked to the Lawn Tennis Club.

True to his style, Vitacura’s “Zurdo” made a statement against Guillermo Vilas in the preview and set the series on fire.

“They’ve been comparing me to Vilas for a while, but to be honest, I don’t know him very well. The only thing I know is that he’s number two in the world and I’m number one in the world. ” Rios said.

As if that wasn’t enough, the national team won and earned their first point. hernan gummy We won 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.

Franco Squillari He was in key shape with a comfortable 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Hermes Gamonal.

Already on Saturday, Rios returned to the court and fell during the doubles match with Nicolas Massu. Lucas Arnold and Luis Lobo With partials of 7-5, 6-3, 6-3. Everything was decided on Sunday.

Chino Rios and Nicolas Massu at the 1998 Davis Cup.

Fernando González sent off due to Chino’s elbow

During the warm-up, something happened that upset Rios. He was unable to finish his preparations due to an elbow problem and went to the locker room to talk to his coach. Manuel Astorga .

González was looking at his bed in the same locker room, hoping to rest before the remaining two games, when Chile captain Patricio Cornejo approached him.

“We were losing 2-1 and when Chino warmed up on Sunday, the game wasn’t over. It stopped and stopped. . I remember we went to the locker room and Manolo Astorga spoke to him privately, and he must have told him that he was not fit to play,” Fernando recalled.

“Mano de Piedra” further added, “15 minutes ago Pato Cornejo asked me if I had any clothes to play with. And I said, ‘Yes, stupid.’ He always played in a T-shirt. He must always be prepared. ” so he had to play .

There were boos at the Lawn Tennis Club in Buenos Aires after the world number one was eliminated. Everyone wanted to see Rios play, but it didn’t take long for everyone in the room to cry out when they learned that he would be replaced by a 17-year-old.

“When this came, my heart flipped. The amount of mistakes made by the public who came to see him…but it was impressive.” said Fernando González.

“Remove your diaper, Gonzalez!”

Unexpected circumstances combined with public pressure led to La Reina’s “Bombardero” being played with.

“I got on the court and I couldn’t feel my legs. They were heavy for me. It started with one or two double faults and I got yelled at by the public for everything.” commented Gonzalez.

“They told me, ‘Take off your diaper, Gonzalez!'” Imagine how much they yelled at me,” added the world No. 5.

Fernando could do little against former ATP No. 11 Franco Schillari. They were defeated 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 6-0. .

The Nation of Argentina wrote about this party: “González felt the effort and became dehydrated, but Squillari did not let him.” . “That decided the game and gave Argentina the third goal.”

“Franco’s power was enough to throw Chilean tennis prospect Fernando González off balance. The 17-year-old, ranked 1065th in the world, lost in defeat and made his debut in Davis. I was happy that we were able to surprise them in battle and sometimes play very well,” added the Trans-Andean media.

Regarding his mission, Mano de Piedra reflects: “I didn’t have that experience, but in the end it was very fulfilling. In the end, I lost in four sets, but the experience I gained afterwards was useful. ” .

It is worth noting that this series ended 4-1 in favor of the trans-Andean team after Hernán Gumi won against Hermes Gamonal in the fifth game (7-5 ​​and 6-1).

Source: Biobiochile

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