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The Earth Moves, and Not In a Good Way

Posted by gauloises1 on March 2, 2010

So unless you’re living under a rock somewhere (and it shattered and fell on your head), you’ll have heard that Chile has been hit with an 8.8-magnitude earthquake with its epicentre somewhere in the vicinity of Concepcion (felt by Delpo in Buenos Aires). This news doesn’t really fall within the scope of this website, except that Chile is due to host a Davis Cup tie with Israel this weekend. The tie will go ahead as scheduled in the northern port town of Coquimbo, which has suffered little damage.

However, the Chileans appear to be feeling a certain amount of reluctance to go ahead with the tie (unsurprisingly. God.) The Chilean no. 2,  former Olympic gold medallist Nicolas Massu, and an official statement from the Chilean tennis federation have both said that they would have postponed had the choice been left to them and not the ITF.

Fernando Gonzalez, meanwhile, posted a message from Acapulco on his website on Sunday:

Hello friends:

I was watching TV and I found out about the earthquake. I’m so sad for the victims and families. I’m at Mexico City. This nght I’ll fly to Lima to try to get a new flight to Santiago.

Thank God I could talk with my family after the earthquake. I watched TV all the time and I’m so sad with the news. It’s tough I can’t be in Chile. I’m praying. I would like to help with the reconstruction of my country.

I hope to see them again as soon as possible.

A big hug for everyone and ¡Fuerza Chile!


According to the latest update on a twitter that may or may not be his, he is still stuck in Lima trying to return home to Santiago.

One’s heart goes out to everyone involved, no matter how peripherally, in this awful situation. It’s true that Gonzo and Massu are talismans to their country and seeing them play a Davis Cup tie might be good for morale, if anybody’s paying attention. And the logistics of postponing a tie are intricate and burdensome. Still, it’s easier to understand that tennis must be the furthest thing from anyone’s mind and to be required to play a Davis Cup tie under these circumstances must seem at best awfully incongruous. Sad.

…. And that was a serious post on a serious subject, the last thing I feel qualified to provide. So have a photo of one of my favourite off-court moments ever from any player, a proud Gonzo carrying the Chilean flag during the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony:

We love you, Gonzo.

22 Responses to “The Earth Moves, and Not In a Good Way”

  1. mina said

    this is the official twitter account on the official gonzo site :

    but the twitter link you’ve posted was also rumored to be real.

  2. Imtotallyrad said

    oh my poor chileans ='( this situation is beyond crap!
    it doesnt feel right to be thinking about something as trivial as tennis at a time like this, but seeing heros like massu and gonzalez play would be uplifting, but its still not the right time i would have been fine with it being delayed but its obviously not an opption way way way to much stuff to try and work out.
    oh and i was so looking forward to DC having Feña back on the team, now it doesnt seem right. =(

  3. sophienz said

    Whenever I see these tragedies on television, I cannot even comprehend how awful it must be. However, my brother lives in Chile (in Valparaiso) and he and his girlfriend were badly affected by the quake. From the sounds of it – where he is at least – I don’t think tennis would do too much to improve moral. They’re all much more concerned with getting water and food and worrying about looters and gas leaks.
    That being said, I do know they bloody love Gonzo over there, so really I don’t know anything about anything.
    Wonderful picture, btw.

  4. jewell - Make tea, not war. said

    *totally trivial comment warning*

    Gonzo’s smile was one of the moments of that Olympics for me. Cannot dislike anyone with a smile like that.

  5. lauren said

    It seems unbelievable to me that this tie is going ahead even if the players don’t want it to. Gonzo, for example, is in another country when it happens, probably spent a frantic time trying to check on all his family, has been stuck (and probably still is) trying to find a way to fly back in to a country where the main airport is shut, and then he’s expected to play tennis? I can see the idea of normality being a good thing, but when so many people are struggling with water and food supplies, shelter and the inevitable looting, playing tennis is a bit like Nero fiddling while Rome burns. Instead of Gonzo being a talisman, he’ll become a pariah. The ITF need to get out of their clubhouse armchairs into the real world.

    • AmyLu said

      Completely agree. I was also wondering, just from a logistical standpoint, if the Israeli team is already in Chile — and if they’re not, whether or not they can even fly in? I mean if you’re going to play a tie (which I think is incredibly insensitive and ridiculous), you would actually need players from both teams to make it, right? And make it in time to actually practice on the courts that will be used in the tie. The ITF gets a huge thumbs down from me on their handling of this issue.

  6. mina said

    i wish they’d include Chile in the coming charity exo at Indian Wells. Chile and Haiti both need all the help they can get.

    • gauloises1 said

      I was thinking the same thing. I know you can only do so much, but given that there are three fairly well known Chilean players on tour just off the top of my head, it would seem like an obvious thing to do.

      • naughty T....urbane gentleman said

        But what will they call it??
        The Chip and Charge for Chile?? Not quite as catchy.

        • raindelaysplay said

          Don’t shoot me, but moving the hyphen in a recent headline, it would have to be:
          “Quake Hit – Chile”

  7. naughty T....urbane gentleman said

    And think of the poor Israelis trying to beat a country that has just been devastated by an earthquake… I mean you would look like a complete prick.

  8. raindelaysplay said

    So it’s not just me who’s really bothered by this? I think expecting them to be able to play a Davis Cup tie at this time is beyond ridiculous. Seriously. To think that they could possibly give 100% effort to tennis with all that’s going on in Chile… for heaven’s sake.

    I hope they pull out. Whatever the consequences. I hope Feña sticks his arse up in the air, shoves his head between his legs, pokes his tongue out at the ITF and tells them where to shove it. Or, he could just say no. Either way. Shame on the ITF if they let it to go ahead.

    • naughty T....urbane gentleman said

      The ITF are a bunch of pricks. Let’s not forget they recently punished Australia for refusing to play in India because of security fears. Practically branding them racists and ridiculous scaredy cats, when at the same time the entire Indian Premiere League Cricket had moved itself to Sth Africa for the same reasons.

  9. Silvia said

    I thought their match against Israel will be suspended or delayed or something… but, oh well. The World is an strange place…

  10. Silvia said

    On a side note: I live in Buenos Aires and, as Delpo said in that article, I know that some people living in high buildings felt the quake. Not my case… in spite I went to bed at 3.15 that night, after watching Gonzo-Ferru match in Acapulco.

  11. Maria1 said

    That photo of Gonzo is just so sweet, agree with everyone re playing tennis at such a difficult time.

  12. greenhopper said

    Last I read about this, there are still some aftershocks affecting parts of Chile and neighbouring countries. I cannot imagine carrying out a tennis event in the midst of all this.

    Poor poor Chileans. 😦
    My heart goes out to them.

  13. Sunny said

    Well, I don’t have a lot of new stuff to add except I was glad to hear so many people reacted as I did. There was a catastrophe in the country. Players are trying to find out about family, the Israelis are stuck also, I heard today. Sometimes the ITF just seems to have no feelings whatsoever. Just march on. This is tennis by God! Well I think there are extenuating circumstances and this is definitely one of them.

  14. harini said

    Oh *hugs* Gonzo. I hope he gets to be with his family soon.

    • Silvia said

      According to his official web page and his personal Twitter he’s in Santiago right now after travelling two days in a row from Acapulco. Poor man *hugs him tightly*

  15. […] The Earth Moves, and Not In a Good Way […]

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