Holed up in Indiana, Gonzales has time–and hitting partner–to stay in shape | Inquirer Sports

Holed up in Indiana, Gonzales has time–and hitting partner–to stay in shape

/ 04:02 AM May 05, 2020

For someone who travels heavily, the nationwide lockdown has been particularly tough on Filipino tennis star Ruben Gonzales.Good thing he has a tennis court right in his family’s backyard, and a competent tennis partner to hit with, too. Based in Terre Haute, Indiana, Gonzales has been on the road most of the year since turning professional more than 10 years ago.

“We are in lockdown, but essential businesses are open. Since then, I’ve been focusing on my training. But I’m also enjoying a lot of time with my family,” he told the Inquirer.

For the first time in the last five years, Gonzales said he was happy to be able to join his mother on her birthday.“Yes, this is a tough time for the world obviously,” he added. “But it has put everything into perspective. Even though I miss traveling and playing tournaments, the most important thing is the health and safety of my family and loved ones.”

Especially now that having a family of his own is in the horizon.

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After taking the silver medal in the Southeast Asian Games men’s doubles, Gonzales thrilled the fans inside Rizal Memorial Tennis Center when he dropped on his knees and proposed to longtime girlfriend, motorsports star Michele Bumgarner.

But the six-foot Gonzales, known for his thunderous forehands and strong fighting heart, is letting the long break soften him.Fortunately, he gets to train everyday with the help of a neighbor who plays college tennis.

“We try to stay far, far away from each other,” he told a recent podcast by tennis official Randy Villanueva. “I’m blessed to be able to do that still these days.”Before everything shut down, Gonzales was able to see action for the Philippines when it hosted Greece in the Davis Cup World group qualifiers early March.

From then on, he flew back to the United States and had to self-isolate in Bumgarner’s apartment, which is just an hour’s drive from his parents’ home.

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Once reaching World No. 129 in singles, Gonzales has been doing well in the circuit, winning the ATP Challenger in Las Vegas last year.

In the Davis Cup, he paired with Francis Casey Alcantara in scoring for the Philippines its lone win against Greece. INQ

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TAGS: Ruben Gonzales, Tennis

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