Gonzales looms as country’s new tennis ace


RUBEN Gonzales (right) discusses strategy with Treat Huey during their Davis Cup doubles match against Syrians Marc Abdelnuor and Madji Salim. The game was being played at presstime. MARC ANTHONY REYES

LAPU-LAPU CITY—Ruben Gonzales waited in the wings for three years.  When the big break finally came, he passed it with flying colors.

Suddenly installed in the Cebuana Lhuillier-Philippine Davis Cup team as its top player, the 27-year-old from Terre Haute, Indiana, delivered with a 6-4, 7-6 (7-1), 6-2 win over Syria’s Marc Abdelnuor Friday night to cap a 2-0 sweep by the host of the opening singles of Asia-Oceania Group 2 tie.

It was the first singles victory for Gonzales, who first made it to the country’s  Davis Cup team  in 2010 but spent most of the time on the bench as Cecil Mamiit and Huey carried the PH campaign on their shoulders.

“I’ve always wanted to play singles in Davis Cup and very thankful for the opportunity,” said Gonzales, who can complete his breakout performance by playing with Treat Huey in last night’s doubles match against Abdelnuor and Madji Salim, which was going on at presstime at Plantation Bay.

With the retirement of long-time leader Mamiit and with Huey focusing more on doubles, PH tennis went for Gonzales as its new main man.

“Yeah I feel better every match, and I guess as you grow older and the more tournaments you play, you gain a lot of confidence and experience,” added the 6-foot-2 power hitter, who, against Abdelnuor, also showed that he’s at home on a slow surface.

Gonzales has now improved his Davis Cup win-loss record to 3-4, scoring his two previous wins in doubles.

Going into the tie, Gonzales said he took up a regimen that included running  to improve his stamina and leg power.

“The trainer put me up to 400-meter and 800-m runs, I guess it made me stronger though it makes me really tired,” said Gonzales. “It helped my agility and made me feel pretty fit.”

He played a tournament until mid-January in the United States, but added that even in the off-season he was focusing himself for the Syrian tie.

Now ranked 823rd in world singles and 310th in doubles, Gonzales, whose pro circuit campaign is bankrolled by Jean Henri Lhuillier, seems on the way to becoming the country’s next tennis ace.

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  • Vincent

    kailan daw s’ya mag-a-artista?

  • tra6Gpeche

    Ruben Gonzales will not improve his tennis talent if he stays in the Philippines. He should stay in the US. Filipinos in the Philippines, in general, do not have the discipline, hard work, drive and competitive spirit for world class competition. Mr. Gonzales might become lackadaisical in his quest of becoming even top 50 in the world. Besides, real & professional competition is in Europe and US. Filipinos in the Philippines are more laid-back in their way of life. If he stays in the Philippines, his tennis will become stale and will not go anywhere. But if his goal is just to make money here and there without serious work, then Philippines is the best place for him.

  • kidsPorts

    At 6’2″ Gonzales has the height to compete in the ATP. Being in the US with more opportunities to play in tournaments, he could go far if could enjoy stamina building runs and the other required conditioning regimen.

    • tra6Gpeche

      But he is now playing tennis in the Philippines. He will never improve his tennis in the Philippines where there is no real competition and where tennis players are laid back, no serious training, not disciplined and dedication. He is from Indiana, USA where there is plentiful of real and professional tennis competition. Perhaps, his goal is not to be making money as a world class tennis player but just to make few pesos with easy way of living and not too much sacrifices.

  • Joseph Baton

    Gonzales has the physical tools to make it big,He has the same height as Federer and Rafa. And he is still young too. He should enter more tournaments abroad.Its good to know Mr Lhuillier financing his campaign,kudos to you. Go,go Gonzales..

    • tra6Gpeche

      He might have the same height as Federer, Rafa or Noli but
      does he have the desire, the dedication, focus, hard work and belief in
      himself? I really don’t think so because instead of staying in America
      ( He is from Indiana.), he went to play tennis for the Philippines.
      Life in the Philippines
      is laid back and easy going. Instead of improving, his tennis talents will fade
      away. Except for few athletes, almost all of them are not used to serious
      training and hard work. But I know that with his little talent right now, he
      could make few bucks in the Philippines
      without really working hard.

      • christian jason dico

        You don’t get to 823rd in the world by just ” little talent”. Pinoy talaga crab mentality

      • tra6Gpeche

        Kabayan, wala ka yatang alam sa tennis. At ang isip mo ay
        “crab mentality” dahil balat sibuyas ang iyong balat. #823 in tennis
        is just a college tennis player in the US.
        Masyadong mababa ang iyong pamantayan. hindi ka aasenso kung ganyan ang iyong
        isipan. Ako ay matanda na at baka talunin ko pa siya. Having little talent
        means he has, at least, a talent. Some people don’t even have little talent in
        tennis. Anyway, by going to the Philippines
        (Gonzales is from Indiana, USA),
        that tells me he is not serious in improving his “little talent.” Why
        go to a country where people are born lackadaisical, laid back, easy going and
        not used to hard work and unbelievable training? Professional competition is in
        the US and Europe.
        His “little talent” in tennis will fade away in the Philippines
        because those tennis players in the country are only amateurs. There is no
        competition in the Philippines.
        Do you know how hard Djokovic, Nadal, Murray, Ferrer, Federer and other world
        class tennis players trained before they became known to the world of tennis?
        No distraction, 100% dedication, 6 hours of hard work and training seven days a
        week, no hanky panky, no beer, no cigarettes, healthy foods, no barkada, etcetera,
        etcetera. They don’t only train in tennis. They also do different kind of training, like running, jump rope, weight lifting and other things for their stamina and endurance. I am sure he goes to the Philippines
        because he knew that he would not be able to handle the sacrifice of, at least,
        becoming top 50 or 100 in the world. He was already in the US.
        Unless, of course, he is satisfied in just earning few pesos and have an easy way of
        life. What do think, kabayan? Please answer me.

      • christian jason dico

        Did you even read the article??? Ruben came to the Philippines to represent our country for the Davis cup, not to settle here and just play local tournaments.

        So you think it’s that easy to get into a Div I college tennis team in the US? and for that matter get a single ATP point?

        “Ako ay matanda na at baka talunin ko pa siya.” IN YOUR DREAMS! hahahaha my last reply to you, you freaking troll.

      • tra6Gpeche

        Kabayan, iyong salitang baka talunin ko siya ay biro lang.
        Bagaman kung bata-bata pa ako ay baka may pagasa akong talunin ko siya. I know
        he is playing as a Philippine davis
        cupper. He would not do that if his goal is to be a world class tennis player.
        That is what happened to Cecil Mamiit from Southern California
        and Treat Huey. These two are both Americans of Filipino descent. But both of
        them decided to play for the Philippines.
        Now Mamiit is gone without becoming at least top 50 in the world in singles. He
        became a hitting partner of Maria Sharapova. Huey, at least, is now back in the
        US and playing
        everywhere outside the Philippines.
        Now he is ranked 55 in doubles because of hard work and playing against the
        world class tennis players. If he had stayed in the Philippines,
        he would never improve his tennis talent. My point is if the goal is to become
        a world class tennis player, at least, to live and make money as full time
        tennis player, Philippines
        is not the place to be. It is in Europe, US and Australia
        where competition will make him world class. If the goal is easy and laid back
        life and not to be world class, then Mr. Gonzales has definitely chosen the
        perfect country…Philippines.
        No one says professional tennis where one makes his living 100% is easy. I am
        not talking about college players. But I know that being a decent tennis
        players can help you get a college scholarship thereby obtaining a college
        degree. Just like you, I’ve been longing for a Filipino born and raised in the Philippines
        to be able to play the four tennis grand slams. I wish I could see one before I
        die. Have a great day, kabayan!

      • tra6Gpeche

        And I don’t think you know exactly the meaning of “crab mentality.”

  • desi derata

    There was a great tennis player in the history of the Philippine tennis with the same family name.

  • Eron Salazar

    Way to go man. I do hope our country can produce a player who will be able to play, even just play, in the Slams. 

    • Yxon

      that could be done with local talents;  there is a lot of talent and interests from local young players in the country; it is up to our NSA’s how to tap and develop them; instead of quarreling post their posts.

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